Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"I'm singing in the rain...

…what a wonderful day, I am happy again.” As sung by Heyneke Meyer or Rassie Erasmus?

With all the rain that has fallen recently so generously over most parts of the country, one would have to contemplate over the possibility of the S14 and rain. More specific, rain during the opening match in the city of Roses.

Not too many matches have been played in Bloemfontein under the cover of a downpour, but one comes to mind – the CC match between the Sharks and the Cheetahs. Where young Meyer Bosman starting for the first time for the home side. The newcomer and good play by fullback Hollenbach, the scrumhalf Oelshig and the center Strauss, now playing for the side against which he played that day, outdid the visitors. Not to mention the forwards play.
Needless to say the Cheetahs won that day, through some good tactics and players who made the plan happen.

Should the rain bless us on the 10th of February 2006, some interesting moves by the coaches would have to be considered.

We all know that the Cheetahs in their CC form defeated the team of Cape Town in rainy whether in the semi-final in 2004. The Freestaters were by far the underdogs.
But this is the S14. Would they be able to adapt to the rain as well as they had done during those previous two games?

The question can be put to the Bulls also. How would Heyneke Meyer, the coach, handle the opening game of the S14 in wet conditions?

Although, I can’t recall a recent match of the Bulls involving rain, I could look at their artillery for adaptablity.

Props
The obvious would be to pick a heavy pack. But if your best front rowers were injured, you’d have to make due with what you have. Engels, van der Walt and Human could be an option. Personally I wouldn’t gamble with using Vermeulen as tight head in that game. The powerhouse props of the Cheetahs would demolish him. But give him time. He is mobile and we might have a new Richard Bands in the making. This is where Meyer should plan carefully. Forward play in the rain is crucial and to lose here, could mean the match.

Locks
The locks are solid. Bakkies and van Schouwenburg would probably start the match. Their possession of the lineout balls could make the difference. Barend Pieterse would be their main rival – he did taste success against them at several occasions. Whoever partners with him for the Cheetahs, would have their work cut out.

Loose forwards
Wannenburg has shown in the past that he can stand up to any man in his position. Just ask the Lions in the semi-final of the 2005 CC.
Tim Dlulane would be handy when playing the ball in wet conditions - being a traditional fetcher - his role can’t be overstated.
Pierre Spies? A big forward with the speed of a wing – what more would you ask for in rainy conditions? Add Rossouw and Cronje on the bench, and you don’t have to worry about agility there. But will it be enough to tame Juan Smith and co?

Backline

Hougaard, with his cannon kicks, in conjunction with Heini Adams – who can also boot the ball many a mile – would be lethal in these conditions. Both players would want to prove to their coach that they deserve to be the number one choices in their respective positions.

At center Dries Scholtz would be the perfect player. A light-footed guy like Russel has proven in the above-mentioned game that when you don’t have any grip underneath you, sidestepping is virtually impossible and size becomes essential. And size is what Scholtz has plenty of.

The speed and strenght of JP Nel would be the obvious choice as partner to Scholtz.

Habana, Ndungane and Roets all pick themselves as the experienced back three combination. Interesting though, is that Olivier has started training in the full back position lately. Might we see a surprise on the bench as replacement for Roets?

From a Bulls prospective I would think that they would be looking to dominate the set pieces and work their play with the forwards, bring their strong centers in play and when in their own half, let the half-backs kick the ball down the field with interest.

In a perfect world, sure, why not? But the Cheetahs are hardly a push over. Set pieces would be messy and the referee would have to be sharp on this point. The combination of Oelshig and Bosman worked out perfectly in previous encounters in the rain – especially Oelshig with his trusted boot. With Keith Lowan at center – as tough as any center can get – alongside a guy like Goodes, can pose as much a danger as the Bulls’ centers. Add to that Juan Smith and his fellow loosies, with the experience of the coach, Rassie Erasmas, and the Bulls could have their work cut out for them. Both sides' defense are the trademark of their approach, so tries would be scarce in these conditions, since wingplay are virtually eleminated.

My own verdict? After taking in consideration the history of these two sides in the old S12, if rainy weather is expected, the Cheetahs would be favorites this time around – but I do believe the Bulls would pull it through. I do believe, even with the injuries, there would be too much firepower for the Cheetahs to overpower (PS: I think I said the same regarding the CC final last year. I don’t think I would be wrong twice in a row, would I?).

GET ON THE BUS

Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2006 1:23 PMSubject: Cheetahs Bus
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The Force is 'live


This arti from the official Western Force site, as part of OORB reporting on the use of technology to spread the game. Please note that Vodacom is the Tournament Sponsor in South Africa and Toohey's the sponsor in Australia.




Vodafone Joins Emirates Western Force

Tuesday, 31 January 2006
Vodafone/RugbyWA



With less than two weeks to the start of the Tooheys New Super 14 season, the Emirates Western Force has kicked off 2006 with a major sponsorship partnership with Vodafone.

The sponsorship is part of a renewed three-year, multi million-dollar commitment to Australian rugby by Vodafone Australia.

In a first for Australian rugby, Vodafone will offer exclusive rugby content on Vodafone live!, including behind the scenes footage, interviews with players, match statistics and team updates.


Vodafone are on board with the Emirates Western Force

Vodafone has a strong track record of supporting winning teams such as Ferrari and the Emirates Western Force believes it will make a major contribution to that winning culture.

RugbyWA chief executive Peter O'Meara said Vodafone had always been a big supporter of rugby and he was thrilled the company had renewed its ties with the game.

"The Emirates Western Force believes that its partnership with a national brand of Vodafone's stature, which has a reputation for supporting it sponsorships with strong promotional activity, will generate a positive result for us both," O'Meara said.

General Manager of Vodafone WA, Darren Hayes said; "Vodafone, like many of its customers, has been a passionate supporter of Australian rugby for many years and we are excited to renew our ties with the rugby community.

"We want to bring this sponsorship to life for our customers and rugby supporters. Whether it's on their handset or at the game we will deliver a bigger, better rugby experience."

Through this sponsorship Vodafone also plans to strengthen ties with businesses, well known supporters of rugby.

"The SOHO and SME markets are a key focus for growth in 2006. We are rapidly expanding our products and services and plan to relate the benefits of the mobile through this sponsorship," Hayes added.

Existing customers will also have access to 'money can't buy' rugby experiences through Vodafone's customer loyalty reward program, Delight.

The partnership, which lifts the level of corporate support for Rugby to an all-time high, sees Vodafone take up the exclusive telecommunications sponsorship of the Wallabies, ACT Brumbies, QLD Reds and the Emirates Western Force, as well as becoming the sleeve sponsor for the NSW Waratahs.



This is a very interesting article on the possibilities of using broadband to promote the game of Rugby Union - especially on club level - to a worldwide audience. It is from Rapport- cut & pasted in order to stimulate public debate

NOTE: RAPPORT DOES NOT SUPPORT OORB OR OORB READERS VIEWS


28/01/2006 17:26 - (SA)
Telkom sit TV-aas aan sy hoek om breëband uit te brei
DAVID VAN ROOYEN

Telkom het nie aspirasies om hom as 'n televisiemaatskappy van formaat te vestig nie, maar soek eerder maniere waarop hy die gebruikers van breëbandtegnologie kan aanspoor om die bandwydte tot hul beskikking baie meer te gebruik.

En wêreldwyd is die ervaring dat die beskikbaarheid van mediadienste soos televisie, musiek en radio een van die suksesvolste maniere is om die benutting van breëbandtegnologie te bevorder.

Só sê mnr. Ricus Matthyser, die uitvoerende amptenaar van Telkom se afdeling vir nuwe sake, oor die nuus dat Telkom begin het met 'n aanvoorprogram om die lewensvatbaarheid van televisie-uitsendings oor Telkom se ASDL-breëbandlyne te toets.

Volgens hom gaan die toenemende gebruik van die bandwydte noodwendig daartoe lei dat die koste verbonde daaraan verminder.

Sowat 300 mense neem deel aan die aanvoorprojek wat Telkom saam met Microsoft en Alcatel onderneem.

Matthyser sê ervaring wereldwyd het reeds getoon dat die gebruik van breëbandtegnologie besonder geskik is vir mediadienste omdat dit baie meer geleenthede skep vir interaktiewe deelname deur die gebruikers as byvoorbeeld satelliettegnologie wat tans op groot skaal in Suid-Afrika gebruik word.

Die beskikbare tegnologie sal dit nie net vir gebruikers moontlik maak om toegang tot 'n onbeperkte getal televisiekanale te kry nie, maar die gebruiker sal onder meer na rolprente van sy eie keuse kan kyk wanneer hy wil en self kan besluit na watter televisieprogramme hy wil kyk en wanneer, ongeag van die skedule van die kanale wat die programme uitsaai.

En dan praat 'n mens nie eens van die magdom gebruike soos om na musiek en radioprogramme van jou keuse te luister, en musiek af te laai wanneer jy wil nie. "En jy kan na die musiek in surround sound op jou tuisvermaaksentrum luister, en nie meer oor die rekenaar se luidsprekers nie."

Die uiteinde gaan wees dat die gebruiker uiteindelik teen 'n billike prys 'n enkele pakket kan koop wat aan hom telefoondienste, internettoegang en unieke mediadienste sal bied.

Hoewel Microsoft en Alcatel betrokke is by die toetsprogram, is hul deelname gegrond op verskaffingskontrakte. Albei is groot verskaffers aan Telkom.

Microsoft se Media Centre-programmatuur is ook die instrument waarmee verbruikers se rekenaars en ander toerusting uiteindelik verbind gaan wees aan die netwerk waarop die mediadienste beskikbaar is.

Telkom het reeds in samewerking met Mecer besluit om die Media Centre, wat 'n rekenaar insluit, gratis te verskaf aan die sowat 6 000 gebruikers van Telkom se gevorderdste breëbandpakket om dit vir hulle moontlik te maak om met hul breëbandwydte toegang tot mediadienste te kry.

Matthyser sê die aanvoorprojek is nie soseer daarop gemik om te kyk of so 'n projek tegnologies lewensvatbaar is nie, want "ons weet reeds dat die tegnologie elders werk".

Die doel is eerder om te bepaal in watter mediadienste Suid-Afrikaners belang stel en of dit lewensvatbaar is om dié dienste vir hulle te bied.

"Ons soek aantwoorde op vrae soos of dit nog nodig is om 'n televisiekanaal wat rolprente uitsaai beskikbaar te stel, as die verbruiker sy eie rolprente uit 'n biblioteek kan kies."

Oor die vraag of Telkom sy eie programme gaan uitsaai, of sy netwerk vir iemand anders beskikbaar gaan stel, sê Matthyser dat besluite soos dié nog ná die aanvoorprojek geneem moet word.

" 'n Mens sal moet aanvaar dat Telkom minstens sekere uitsaaigeriewe sal moet inrig om die mediadienste te lewer en dat dit miljoene rande se beleggings sal vereis."

Hy sê Telkom gesels reeds met die televisiegroepe in Suid-Afrika, terwyl hy ook al talle aanbiedings gekry het van ander partye wat inhoud wil verskaf.

Claassen sê die ervaring in die buiteland het getoon dat van die groot telekommunikasiegroepe in Amerika en Europa, wat reeds televisie oor breéband beskikbaar stel, besluit het om die televisie-uitsendings self te bestuur.

So het die Amerikaanse groep SBC, wat tot onlans 'n aandeelhouer in Telkom was, sy diens met 200 kanale geskep met die mikpunt om dit tot sowat 1 000 uit te brei.

Oor die een vraag wat die skeptici dikwels vra - of Suid-Afrika se breëbandspoed vinnig genoeg is om 'n doeltreffende televisiediens aan te bied - sê Matthyser dat die 3 gigagreep per maand wat tans vir Telkom se breëbandkliënte beskikbaar is, meer as genoeg is om vir televisiedienste te gebruik.

Hy voorsien dus nie bykomende groot beleggings in nog breëbandwydte nie, maar sê dat dit uitgebrei sal word namate die behoefte daaraan ontstaan.

In Australië word bepaalde mediadienste selfs oor inbel-internetdienste beskikbaar gestel.

Telkom beskik oor 270 000 internetkliënte waarvan 120 000 ASDL-lyne het, wat beteken daar is reeds 'n grondslag vir 'n netwerk wat die grense van vermaak in Suid-Afrika in die afsienbare toekoms gaan verskuif.


These articles from www.volksblad.com



‘Cheetah-span beïndruk meer’
Jan 31 2006 02:15:06:847AM - (SA)
Herbert Pretorius

KAAPSTAD. – Die Vodacom-Cheetahs is meer indrukwekkend as die Stormers en die Katte, sê mnr. Pieter de Villiers.

Dié rugbyafrigter van die Suidelike Spiese se streekspan het in losmakers teen die Cheetahs, Katte en die Stormers gespeel.


Ofskoon De Villiers se span teen die Stormers die grootste van sy nederlae in sy kragmetings met Suid-Afrikaanse Super 14-spanne gely het, beskou hy mnr. Rassie Erasmus se hartlandspan as die indrukwekkendste.

“Wat my betref, was die Cheetahs die bes georganiseerde en gestruktureerde span.

“Hulle het met groter doelgerigtheid gespeel en het die basiese aspekte van die spel beter onder die knie gehad,” sê De Villiers.

Die Stormers sal hul dissipline blitsvinnig moet opknap of dít gaan hulle duur in die Super 14-reeks te staan kom.

Heel ironies is dit die mening van ’n afrigter wie se span die naweek in Wellington kwaai gestraf is weens húl ongedissiplineerdheid.

De Villiers glo die Stormers het deurgaans met moord weggekom in hul oorwinning van 73-5 oor die Suidoos-Kapenaars.

“Die skeidsregter (mnr. Marius Jonker) het die Stormers geen gunste bewys deur hulle nié te straf weens hul knaende oortredings in die losskrums en -gemale nie.

“Die Stormers het die bal deurlopend op die grond gespeel en boonop van die kante af ingestorm gekom. Oorsese skeidsregters het hulle in die verlede met heelwat kaarte vir presies dieselfde oortredings gestraf.

“Ongelukkig het my spelers weens die Stormers se ontoelaatbare spel die josie in geraak en is húlle gestraf.

“Toe al ons spelers op die veld was, het die Stormers min deurdringingsvermoë getoon. Trouens, die druk op hulle is eers verlig toe hulle teen minder spelers te staan gekom het.

“Die Stormers se agterlyn, met al sy Springbokke, het aanvanklik ook nie hond haaraf gemaak teen ons nie.

“Die Katte se grootste probleem lê by die verdediging van hul agterlyn. In hul wedstryd teen ons, was dít uiters verdag.”

De Villiers, wat die Suid-Afrikaanse o.21-span verlede jaar tot Wêreldbeker-glorie help voer het, het ook ’n mening oor die Stormers se veelbesproke vaste vyf.

“Hulle was nie sleg nie, maar gaan nie sommer ander pakke in die Super 14-reeks oorheers nie. En dít is kommerwekkend, want as die pak nie vorentoe gaan nie, gaan ’n aanvallende haker soos Schalk Brits ook aan bande gelê word.”

Volgens De Villiers is dit ook problematies dat die Stormers se buite-agterspelers te min besit op die voorvoet kry.

“Die buite-agterspelers kry die bal onder druk en vind dit dan moeilik om iets uitgerig te kry. Dít was verlede jaar ook Westelike Provinsie se probleem.

De Villiers meen ’n deel van die probleem lê ook by Peter Grant.

“Hy gee eenvoudig nie genoeg rigting aan die agterlyn nie. Dit vertel buitendien ’n storie as die span wat met krummels vir besit tevrede moet wees se losskakel die grootste indruk maak.”

De Villiers het hier verwys na Isma-eel Dollie, voorheen van WP, se blink vertoning teen sy meer geroemde teenstanders.

Dié uitgesproke breier wou nie ’n mening oor die Bulle en die Haaie se kanse in die Super 14-reeks huldig nie, aangesien hy hulle nog nie vanjaar in aksie gesien het nie.

Oranje Orakel lees elke oggend die Volksblad. teken sommer vandag in en kry elke oggend jou eie koerant op jou voorstoep

NOTA: DIE VOLKSBLAD ONDERSTEUN OF ONDERSKRYF GLAD NIE DIE MENINGS VAN OORB OF SY LESERS NIE


These articles from www.volksblad.com




Cheetahs vestig hoop nie net op losskakels
Jan 31 2006 02:14:59:240AM - (SA)
Hendrik Cronjé

DIE rugbyspan van die Vodacom-Cheetahs sal nie maklik in die strik trap deur al sy hoop slegs op die skopskoene van Willem de Waal en Meyer Bosman te vestig nie.

De Waal en Bosman (albei losskakels) het in die oefenwedstryde teen die Western Force en Treviso uitstekend na die pale gekorrel.

Bosman was die enigste wat een keer teen Treviso skeef gekorrel het, terwyl die res deur hom en De Waal in die kol was.

De Waal was boonop die vorige twee jare die voorste puntemaker in die Curriebeker-reeks, terwyl Bosman in Europa selfs die Bokke se stelskopwerk by Percy Montgomery (heelagter) oorgeneem het.

Voordat Bosman verlede jaar sy kans as plaasvervanger op Curriebeker-vlak vir die Vrystaat gekry het, was hy die voorste puntemaker in SA Rugby se o.21-reeks.

Die Cheetahs is in die verdere bevoorregte posisie dat Gaffie du Toit (heelagter) voorheen die Bokke se eerstekeuse-stelskopper was. Du Toit het teen Treviso met ’n doelskop geslaag.

Barry Goodes, wat ’n aanspraakmaker vir ’n plek op binnesenter is, het vir sy klubspan, Shimlas, op losskakel uitgedraf en die stelskopwerk behartig.

Selfs Falie Oelschig (skrumskakel) het ’n geleerde skopskoen. Oelschig het teen Treviso sy agttal met sy lang kantlynskoppe op die voorvoet gehou en hy het al op Curriebeker-vlak suksesvol die stelskopwerk as kaptein van die SWD-Arende behartig.

Oelschig kan in noodgevalle die stelskopwerk oorneem, hoewel hy na verwagting op die bank sal sit, met Michael Claassens wat skerp vertoon.

“Ons moet nie net op ons stelskopwerk vertrou nie,” sê mnr. Rassie Erasmus, afrigter van die Cheetahs.

“Franco (Smith, agterlynafrigter) oefen kliphard aan dié spelers se skopwerk en ek is tevrede met hul korrelwerk,” sê die Cheetah-breier.

Dié losskakels se skopwerk gee die Cheetahs nietemin baie vertroue voordat die hartlandspan op 10 Februarie teen die Bulle in ’n Super 14-wedstryd speel. Hoewel die Cheetahs vanweë die belangrikheid van bonuspunte beklemtoon het hulle wil drieë in die Super 14 behaal, sal stelskopwerk uiteindelik die koring van die kaf skei.

Teen Treviso het die hartlandspan met sewe drieë onderstreep hy kan meer bonuspunte as wat verwag word in die Super 14 inoes.

Smith gee nie net aandag aan Bosman-hulle se skopwerk nie, maar Bevin Fortuin (heelagter) en al die Cheetah-senters moet weekliks vir skop-oefeninge by dié agterlynafrigter aanmeld.

Die Cheetahs weet stelskopwerk sal veral teen die Bulle belangrik wees, omdat die Noord-Gautengers goeie losskakels in Derick Hougaard en Morné Steyn het.

Mnr. Vlokkie Cilliers is die Bulle se skopafrigter.

Oranje Orakel lees elke oggend die Volksblad. teken sommer vandag in en kry elke oggend jou eie koerant op jou voorstoep





Monday, January 30, 2006


Hierdie storie vanaf www.volksblad.com


Ollie en Os ruik kruit teen Bulle
Jan 29 2006 10:09:36:277PM - (SA)
Hendrik Cronjé

WELKOM. – Noem die naam Bulle en dit is asof Ollie le Roux kruit ruik, die bloed kan proe en die adrenalien voel pomp.
Gooi die naam van Os du Randt sommer in dieselfde hoed as Le Roux s’n.
Dit is asof dié Bok-loskopstutte as ’t ware hul peil met minstens 30% verbeter wanneer hulle teen die Bulle speel of met hul voorbereiding vir die Vodacom-Cheetahs se rugbywedstryd teen die Noord-Gautengers besig is.
Saterdag se Cheetah-sege van 52-11 hier oor die Italiaanse kampioenspan, Treviso, is ’n sprekende voorbeeld van Le Roux-hulle se verbeterde vorm.
Mnr. Rassie Erasmus (breier) glimlag ook breed oor Wian du Preez (loskopstut) se inklimspel teen Treviso voordat die Cheetahs op 10 Februarie in Bloemfontein in ’n Super 14-wedstryd teen die Bulle op die veld draf.
Erasmus het Le Roux egter ná die wedstryd teen Treviso uitgesonder.
“Ollie is ’n speler van wêreldgehalte.
“Hy kan in enige posisie in die voorry sak,” sê Erasmus.
“Ollie het in die laaste drie wedstryde (met CJ van der Linde wat beseer is) op vaskopstut gespeel en hom goed van sy taak gekwyt.
“Sy houding is van groot waarde vir die span,” sê Erasmus.
Van der Linde behoort vandeesweek weer volstoom aan die Cheetah-oefeninge deel te neem.
“ ’n Mens moet onthou Ollie het in 1994 op haker vir die Bokke gespeel. Sy toegewydheid is ’n voorbeeld vir die res van sy spanmaats.
“Hy is ’n ongelooflike speler,” sê Erasmus.
Die Cheetah-skrumwerk was uitmuntend teen Treviso, en Du Preez, Le Roux en Du Randt het ’n groot bydrae gelewer. Du Randt se plettervatte het ’n mens boonop aan sy goeie peil in 1995 herinner.
“Ons skrums was nie goed teen die Western Force nie, maar ek het altyd geweet ’n agttal kan sy krag en tegniek nie oornag kwyt wees nie.
“Ek dink dit was ’n geval van swak konsentrasie teen die Western Force.
“Daar was nie baie skrums teen Treviso nie, maar ons het op hul ingooi goeie druk op hulle geplaas,” volgens die Cheetah-breier.
Le Roux het sy waarde reeds in verlede jaar se Curriebeker-eindstryd beklemtoon.
Hy is ’n speler wat sielkundige houe kan uitdeel, maar terselfdertyd bereid is om sy wang te draai as hy aan die ontvangkant is. Hy weet presies hoe om die vonk aan sy spanmaats op belangrike tye in die wedstryd te verskaf.
Ná drie oefenwedstryde bestaan min twyfel dat die Cheetah-stutfaktor, met Le Roux aan die voorpunt, ’n groot faktor in die Super 14 sal bly.
Die taai mededinging wat Du Preez aan dié twee Bokke op loskopstut bied, sal verder verseker dat Le Roux en Du Randt se aandag nog nie op hul pensioengeld gerig word nie, maar eerder om die man in die saal in die nommereen-trui te wees.

Follow the Money

An extremely good article by Mike Lawrence- hosted on www.pitpass.com

Implosion
29/01/2006
Ford is to close 14 plants and shed 25 30,000 jobs. Most would seem to be in the USA, but that is bad news for more than just Ford employees in America. Every new car needs tyres, spark plugs and light bulbs, so there will be a downturn among suppliers. When America sneezes, the rest of us catch a cold.
Do not lose sight of this chilling fact, Dubya has borrowed more money than every other President, from George Washington to Bill Clinton, combined. Dubya has turned a budget surplus into a trillion dollar deficit and it is planned to increase. America is borrowing from nations which save their money and it will end in tears. Debts have to be repaid and to do that countries have to sell things. America's two largest manufacturers, Ford and General Motors, are facing bankruptcy. If they were not who they are, where they are, neither would be in business.
Before the end of 2006, Toyota will have overtaken The General to become the world's most prolific maker of vehicles. GM is basically bankrupt and, unlike Ford, has yet to address its problems. It used to be said that what is good for General Motors is good for America and that was probably true, but the downside is what is bad for General Motors...
Despite this, I have seen it suggested, on another website, that GM should consider Formula One as part of its revival strategy. This would be like trying to douse a fire with petrol. Besides, what name would be used when you have a choice of Cadillac, Buick, Chevrolet, Saab, Holden, Vauxhall and Opel?
Ford has factories everywhere and it also owns roughly a quarter of Mazda (the Ford Cougar coupé used a Mazda platform, the result was dire). The Ford Puma coupé of 1997 was designed in Britain, on a Fiesta platform, and made in Spain. The engines however, needed a special treatment and, since the production was only 5,000 units a year, all the engine blocks were shipped to Yamaha in Japan, then shipped back to Spain.
Ford still makes a profit in Europe, and in South America, but it is failing in North America. Fuel and steel prices are rising, partly because China has entered the world market in a big way. American customers are turning away from large engined trucks and SUVs because, increasingly, they do not make economic sense. Furthermore, cars made for the North American market rarely have an application elsewhere.

Ten years ago Chrysler introduced its Neon saloon to the UK. On paper it looked a bargain, it had all the bells and whistles at a keen price. On value for money, it was swell, but it bombed because it had no virtue as a machine to drive. It was fine on an American freeway, with a 55 mph speed limit, but damn all use where I live, where the roads have corners and lots of them.
Pitpass is about motor racing, and as I keep saying, motor racing is not fuelled by petrol, it's fuelled by money. Ford has been the most creative contributor to all branches of the sport for more than 40 years. Le Mans, Indianapolis, F1, F2, F3, Formula Junior, saloons, various and manifold, let's not forget the great Ford/BMW battles of the early 1970s, plus rallies and, of course all the various Ford formulae. Ford has been great for motor sport and motor sport has been great for Ford.
At the beginning of 1959 you could still buy, in Britain, the Ford Popular, which looked like a Gothic chapel on wheels. Its specification was from an earlier age: sidevalve engine, beam front axle, cable brakes, three speed gearbox (with a throw measured in feet) and vacuum operated windscreen wipers. The wipers were swell, they worked okay on the flat at a constant speed, but if you came to a hill, you had to drop a gear and take a run at it. The harder you pushed on the loud pedal, the slower the wipers went, until they stopped. This was not what you needed on a dark and wet night with headlights that hardly got beyond the front bumper.
By the end of the same year you could buy the 105E Anglia with an engine which was a class leader. The Anglia also had a four speed transmission and for the next decade road testers would compare all gear changes, no matter how expensive the car, to the sweetness of the Ford 'box. None surpassed the transmission in what became the cheapest Ford. Ford led the way with it most inexpensive model, it beat Ferrari, Porsche and Aston Martin, the Ford gearbox was the business.
That 105E engine, with assistance from Cosworth, swept Formula Junior and established the dominance of the British motor racing industry because it killed off all the small constructors elsewhere.
Ford realised that a major influence in sales was the guy in every office who 'knew all about cars'. Suddenly Ford was getting a great name and we had landmarks like the Lotus Cortina, the Mustang and, in due time, the Sierra Cosworth. Forty years on and the Mustang is the Hollywood director's car of choice to portray a slightly off the wall hero, Aiden Quinn drives one in Conviction. Tom Cruise has a Mustang in The War Of The Worlds. The Shelby 450 GT version was top of Nicholas Cage's list in Gone In 60 Seconds while, in the TV series, Spenser For Hire, 'Spenser' (Robert Ulrich) was given a Mustang though he doesn't drive one in the books.
I don't even have to mention James Bond (two movies) and Bullitt, I am talking only about Mustangs at least 30 years old, but still the coolest car on the block. Tom Cruise drives an old car in War Of The Worlds and it marks him out as the special guy who will do something about those pesky Martians. A Camero of similar vintage would not send the same signal even though it is, on balance, the better car.
Ford was recently in Formula One through Jaguar Racing. The writing was on the wall when Bill Ford III demanded to know who the heck was Eddie Irvine, his company's top paid employee. When the COE has not heard of the leader of Ford's F1 team, the F1 team is doomed.
It is always the same, a few guys in senior positions, wanted the paddock passes and the cred. Various factions in Ford had been playing off each other like courtiers fawning around a Renaissance prince. One day the prince said, 'I am Bill Ford III. I am the prince. I am in charge.' Courtiers (aka suits) were sent home to tend their estates,
A problem faced by Ford and General Motors when producing in North America, is the deals struck with the union, United Auto Workers. Both companies are signed to welfare and pension schemes. In the case of Ford, that represents a layout of US$ three billion per year, or $1,000 per car. GM's bill, pro rata, is about the same. Between them, they will lay out $8 billion in 2006 on medical care and pensions, once they have done that, then they can think about making a profit.

In mature European countries, health care is free to the individual (it is not actually free, since it is paid for through taxation). If I am taken ill in Paris, I will receive excellent health care from a local hospital and the same is true if a person from France if taken ill in my city. Nobody will ask, 'How are you paying'? Both of us have already paid.
On New Year's Eve, The Times speculated that within 12 months Ford and/or General Motors may have to apply for bankruptcy protection. UAW had negotiated a small reduction (less than 4%) in medical care cost and this had received the backing of 51% of the membership. Some members, however, are claiming that the vote was rigged and want to go to court. If that happens, the true condition of either company could be exposed. Both are broke. A recent poll showed that 74% of American consumers would not buy a car from a company under bankruptcy protection. If either Ford or GM had to apply for protection, they would be finished,
Ford and GM are kept alive by banks, to whom they owe hundreds of billions of dollars. If Henry and The General fall, banks will fall. The whole American economy could collapse. That was not funny in 1929 and it would be even less funny in 2006. If you have a pension plan, it will be linked in some way to the American economy.
American unions are powerful, but then their fight for recognition is recent and, often, was bitter. In the 1920s, Henry Ford himself sanctioned the hire of gangsters to break union picket lines and you do not hire men with broken noses for their persuasive diplomacy. There are historical reasons why the unions are wary of management.
Another factor in all this is China. Ford and GM have both invested in China and last year, GM made nearly 250,000 vehicles there. Volkswagen, which has been in China for nigh on 20 years, made almost twice as many. BMW is in China, in partnership with Brilliance. Honda is in China, like it or not, a Chinese company has copied Honda designs.
The Chinese government has a relaxed attitude to copying, ask Microsoft. China represents itself as a modern nation, but it is a hotbed of piracy.
At present, China is servicing its home market with cars, but in about five years time it will begin to export. The effect will surely be like the arrival of Japanese cars. Nothing could compete with Japanese cars when they first arrived in Europe. For a start, they came laden with what were otherwise optional extras', such as a radio. It was economic sense to put a radio in every car when they were being sent by sea 12,000 miles. You bought a Japanese car from the showroom, you did not order one, ticking a box for a radio and paying extra. You did not go through a list of colour options, you chose a red one, or a blue one, and the prices were so keen nobody argued.
My DVD player became temperamental recently so I added a new DVD player to my shopping basket at a local supermarket, along with the bread, the eggs and the orange juice. It cost less than the recommended retail price of a Harry Potter DVD, bung it in the basket. Not only that, but in every way it is superior to the DVD player I junked. I cannot find 'Made In China' anywhere on it, but it was made in China. In small letters on the box is 'Made in PRC' (People's Republic of China). The word 'China' does not actually appear.
In 2003, it cost $34 per hour to employ a car worker in the USA and $2 an hour to employ one in China. A car worker in the USA is covered for their medical care, but there is no such obligation in China. Until recently, a Chinese worker received medical care as a matter of right, China was a down the line Marxist state, but now the individual must pay. Much of the population cannot afford to pay.
On BBC World Service recently I heard a heart rending interview with a Chinese peasant farmer. His wife is dying of cancer and she needs treatment he cannot afford. His only option is to rise early and pick herbs in the hope that a folk remedy may alleviate her condition. Herbs do not cure cancer, she needs chemotherapy, or surgery, but herbs is all the guy can offer. Not long ago, his wife would have been treated, free to the individual, with the best medical care his region could offer.
Think of this man, and his wife, and their children, when next you see effusive coverage from Shanghai for something as unimportant as a motor race.

We have an irony in that American car workers, in a capitalist state, have negotiated medical care and China, still a one party, nominally Marxist, state, has withdrawn the healthcare that we, in Europe, take for granted.
Recently, we in the West, followed the story of miners trapped in a coal mine in West Virginia. That wouldn't make the news in China because, literally, it happens every day. Thirteen coal miners are killed in China every single day, 365 days a year. Yup, that means more than 4,000 killed in 2005. It's amazing what you pick up from BBC World Service.
China is operating sweatshop conditions so the rest of the world can enjoy goods cheaper than I have known in my lifetime. My DVD player cost a twelfth of what I paid for a basic VCR (no remote) 20 years ago.
Of course, the Chinese are stealing the markets. We in the West beat our brows over children in sweatshops, but how did we become rich? It was through exactly the same process. In Britain we had women and children, as young as four, down coal mines. Mill workers were often slaves in all but name. There were slaves in America's Deep South who had an easier time than some of my forebears. It was better to be a black butler in a big house on a Georgia plantation than it was to be a mill worker, or a miner, in Britain. Freedom? Who had the greater freedom? Was it the butler, an essential pivot in a great house, or was it the kid, apparently free, who was chained to a loom? Who ate better? Who wore the better clothes? Who had more authority?
Of course, the butler could be sold, in theory, but nobody is going to sell a good butler. On the other hand, kid loses an arm in a machine, sack the kid. The kid will be 'free', free to beg on the streets or become a thief,
Ever read John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath? If not, you should. Steinbeck could write like an angel on occasion, and this is such an occasion. The novel tells of the exploitation of migrant workers in America, and it happened within living memory.
Britain was the first to exploit workers, because we created the Industrial Revolution, but everyone else has followed the pattern. In our case, one of the main prongs was the mass production of cotton goods. We did not care who else we made poor, people using hand looms, our mills took cotton thread and made it into cloth, which we sold round the world.
China is an ecological disaster, but then so was 19th Century London and New York. Actually, both cities were ecological disasters until recently. Want to understand exploitation of labour? Watch On The Waterfront. The same things happened in ports in Britain, but Hollywood once tackled big issues. There was a time when Hollywood was not about the hero running in slow motion from the explosion and somehow not being lacerated from flying glass, metal or brick,
China is doing what the UK and the USA once did. It is making products which undercut the market and it is using the same exploitative techniques which we once used as a matter of course and have conveniently forgotten.
Recently I bought a new TV, flat screen, 28", no bell unrung and no whistle unblown. On the front is the name 'Bush'. My family had a Bush radio in 1948, it is a name with resonance for me. Bush stands for sturdy men, men who smoke pipes and who perhaps maintain a pigeon loft. It has 'Bush' on the front, but it was made in China. If it wasn't made in China, I couldn't have afforded it.
I think that we in the West should buy while we can because China is headed for crisis. After nearly sixty years of Marxism, its banking system is fragile. No matter what else the British did, we left India with a sound infrastructure and cricket. China does not have a sound financial infrastructure, and there is something else, it has no trade unions.
When I was a teacher, I made sure that a union was behind me before I entered a classroom, It was good advice from a fine Headteacher. I never needed the union, but it was always behind me. I have a friend, a teacher, who did need her union, and her union delivered. I am a union man.

China does not have independent trade unions, but it will. There are an estimated 190 million migrant Chinese workers (they have moved within China to obtain work) and 48% of them (more than 90 million workers) have not received their contracted wages, many have not been paid at all. Ninety million is an awful lot of pissed off people. It's roughly the population of the UK and Scandinavia, plus Holland and Belgium.
When Formula One visits Shanghai, TV presenters (who are put up in five star hotels) gush about the economic miracle. They never mention the 4,000 miners who die each year, the 90 million who haven't been paid or the hundreds of millions who cannot afford basic health care which, once, was free. No government can contain that level of discontent for long.
China is trying to be both a Marxist state and a free enterprise zone. That is a recipe for disaster unless you have an internal buffer, such as an independent union movement along with, in parallel, an independent media. Google has done a deal with China and the big news is that while it will censor websites critical of the Chinese leadership, it will tell the Chinese user that they have been denied access. This is supposed to be progress?
The big question is, which will collapse first, China or America? Ford and General Motors are essentially bankrupt, therefore America is bankrupt. America is borrowing money to service its military and, one day, will have to redeem the loans. China cannot continue its present course because someone, one day, will say, "This ain't right". Such a thought was the start for Chairman Mao.
I think it is a race between America and China as to be the first to implode.
The overall winner will be India. India has been catching up with China. India has many problems, but it does have a solid infrastructure, it is a democracy and it has a free press. There are all sorts of problems involving corruption, but the basic structure is sound.
America used to have a sound infrastructure, China never has had one. China has never been more than a lot of people sharing the same land mass. Did you know, for example, that the staple grain for a third of Chinese is not rice, but millet? Try ordering millet with your Chop Suey and egg roll.
The other thing about dealing with India, as we will have to, is that Indians are crazy about cricket. I think we English may have a slight advantage there, we know about 'deep gully' and 'silly mid off', and Johnny Frenchman, and Kurt der Kraut, has no idea what we're talking about. I suggest that we keep it that way.
In the meantime, buy all the cheap stuff you can and then sit back and watch the firework display as Chine and America battle to be the first to implode. Please remember, you read it first on Pitpass.com.
Mike Lawrence

Friday, January 27, 2006

When in Melbourne-


The official Force website reports as follows:





Emirates Western Force on Crusade in Melbourne

Tuesday, 24 January 2006CRFU/RugbyWA




David Fitter and Reuben Thorne will lock horns in Melbourne on Saturday

Melbourne's Olympic Park Stadium will be transformed into a battleground on Saturday January 28 for a pre-season match-up between the world's strongest provincial rugby union team, the Crusaders, and Tooheys New Super 14 newcomers, the Emirates Western Force.

The match, a Crusaders home game, will be a baptism of fire for the squad as they take to the field for the first time against an established Super 14 team. The club from Canterbury won five Super 12 titles, and are the reigning champions.

Melbourne-born tight head prop David Fitter is looking forward to playing his first match in front of his home crowd since joining the Emirates Western Force and becoming a Wallaby in the 2005 Northern Hemisphere tour.

"It's exciting to be part of a new team and even more exciting for me to play in front of my home crowd," Fitter said. "While the pressure on the team to win is less intense than it would otherwise be during the season, all players need to prove they are ready to play their position. This will mean a creative and skilful game for sports fans."

With the recent sell-out of the Melbourne Commonwealth Games Rugby 7's finals and the hype surrounding the pending English tour in Melbourne, organisers expect a bumper crowd to fill Melbourne Olympic Park.


Restoring "Pride"


Another cut & paste jobbie, this time from www.rugby365.com, from the pen of Jan de Koning

Stormers to restore 'lost pride'
Thursday January 26 2006
'It's important to start well'

The Stormers, after a dismal 2005 when they finished ninth on the Super 12 standings, are out to restore their lost pride in the inaugural Super 14 and reproduce the form that saw them reach the semi-finals in 1999 and 2004.

As the Cape franchise head into their second and final pre-season outing, against the Southern Spears in Wellington on Saturday, the coaching staff and players emphasised the importance of a solid start to the tournament.

That means getting off to a winning start in Round One, against the Cats in Johannesburg on February 11.

Hooker Hanyani Shimange, who will start the season as the Stormers' first choice hooker after a couple of years on the bench, made no secret of the fact that being on top of the Super 14 standings is their main priority.

"Yes, there is the issue of relegation in the South African set-up, but we're not concerned about that," Shimange said.

"We are looking forward to the season, and t is pretty exciting, because it's a fresh start for everyone ... with the new management team," the Bok hooker said.

"We are just hoping to bring the Stormers back to what they were a couple of years ago."

Asked how he feels about the possibility that he could even be first choice in the Bok team, with Bok captain and hooker John Smit still on the injury list, he said that is also not his focus at the moment.

"I've got a job to do on the field and that is to do well for the Stormers and hopefully we'll be No.1 team on the log," he said.

Bok star Schalk Burger, who will lead the Stormers against the Spears on Saturday, also said the Stormers have something to prove after last year's dismal showing in the Super 12.

"We've got a job to do this year," Burger said. "I'm very excited about this year, because we have a point to prove as the Stormers and we still got to play for our Springbok spots>"

He added that Saturday's outing in Wellington is vital in terms of the team's preparations.

"It is our last game before the Super 14 start and it is our last opportunity to try out a few things. We have to get our structures in place and build up some confidence."

But he warned that the Spears should not be underestimated.

"The Spears will give it a full go. They are a bunch of young, talented guys and it is an opportunity for them to steal the spotlight and become famous."

Coach Kobus van der Merwe also warned against the dangers of underestimating the Spears, South Africa's Super 14 team in waiting.

Despite losing 48-0 to the Cheetahs and 29-11 to the Cats, Van der Merwe feels they will have a lot to offer on Saturday.

"They're a very young team and even though they've only been together since the beginning of the season, they don't lack any enthusiasm and spirit," Van der Merwe said. "They gave the Cats a hard time last week in East London and you can't underestimate anyone.

"It is important for us to start well and this is the last contact game for us before the Cats [Round One of the Super 14], so we're not going to go out there and just chuck everything around.

"We want to play to our structures, and what we've practiced over last two weeks, so the guys can go into the Cats game with confidence.

"They [the Spears] have a point to prove in terms of their participation [in the Super 14 next year]. We know they'll come with everything they've got, and we won't underestimate them,"

By Jan de Koning

Verdediging is belangrik

CUT & PASTED from www.volksblad.com- but a piece of good news

Man wat span glo besteel, aangekeer
Jan 24 2006 11:02:03:677PM - (SA)
Hendrik Cronjé

DIE Vodacom-Cheetahs se plettervatte word nie sonder rede as die voorste lakwerk deur enige Suid-Afrikaanse rugbyspan beskou nie.

Selfs nie ’n glibberige grypdief kon ’n gaping in die Cheetahs se verdedigingslinie vind nie.

Die vermeende dief, ’n 20-jarige jong man van Bloemfontein, het verlede week sy eerste verskyning by die oefening van die Vodacom-Vrystaat-Cheetahs by die Oud-Greys-velde in Bloemfontein gemaak.

Hy het toe na bewering verskeie spelers se drafskoene, selfone en horlosies gesteel.

Maandag was hy terug en het hy glo Hannru Haupt, flank van die Vrystaat, se drafskoene, horlosie en selfoon gesteel. Mnr. Jaco Peyper, bestuurder van die Cheetah-spanne, het toe die Vodacom-Cheetahs se gebruiklike veiligheidswag, mnr. Ernst Koalane, aangesê om gistermiddag se oefening op die Oud-Greys-velde by te woon.

Die jong man het sy kans gesien en na bewering mnr. Charl Strydom, ’n tegniese raadgewer van die Cheetahs, se videokamera gesteel. Koalane het sy oog op die man gerig gehad en hom naby ’n bekende pandjieswinkel geplettervat.

’n Klag is gister teen die jong man aanhangig gemaak en die polisie hoop om die gesteelde goedere binnekort aan die spelers terug te besorg.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

OORB NEWS FLASH


Cheetah-Force Game: Audio being webcast

The warm-up game between the 2006 Super 14 contestants Emirates Western Force and Vodacom Cheetahs at the Subiaco Oval in Perth, can be followed from 1300 CAT on the web by logging onto www.sportfm905.com.


See attached link.

GROM SAAM-GO VODACOM CHEETAHS- GO S 14 !

Friday, January 20, 2006

Not "Loose"-ing Perspective

South Africa has been blessed over the years with quality loose forwards. If it is the one area we can claim to have had the best throughout the world since the game turned professional, it is in this area.

Names like Ruben Kruger, Francois Pienaar, Tiaan Strauss, Andre Venter and Gary Teichman is enough to instill the fear of god into any opposition team. Strangely enough, many of our recent Springbok captains were loose forwards.

There are a lot of reasons I believe we consistently produce quality loose forwards, one of which is the culture we have in South Africa and South African rugby. From an early age, we encourage our kids to play the game in such a way that they naturally develop the skills needed to be a good loose forward.

As South Africans we have always put a lot of stock in the physical side of the game, areas such as tackling, mauling and wrestling for the ball are all things young kids from under nine level are taught before we worry about concentrating on something like skill levels, kicking, etc.

I do not necessarily believe it is a bad thing, our rugby is built on tradition and our strengths, and we will naturally pass that down to the younger generations. I just wish when kids reach the ages of 15 or 16, we have coaches capable of identifying specific strengths in players to develop them into flyhalfs, or locks, or props, but that is a story for another day.

Another reason I believe we have so many talented loose forwards, is because of the South African trait to convert players into certain positions. A guy might just be a tad short, or light, and he suddenly does not qualify for a certain position and is thus converted. Gcobani Bobo, Pierre Spies and Schalk Brits are a couple that springs to mind.

It is of course much easier to convert a backline player to a loose forward role and vica versa that it is in any other position. The skills and talent needed is basically the same, speed, vision and good defense to name a few, so its no real surprise we see this happening at a professional level. But what makes a loose forward great, what makes him stand out from all the others, what makes him, that one guy every kid wants to be and every opponent fears and respects?

If I could compare the two, loose forwards basically perform the same role in the pack, as what a flyhalf or center does in the backline. Of course your tight five will give you the platform in every match, and they do the hard yards for everyone else in the team to perform their roles effectively, but it is up to the loose forwards to read the game, adjust their own style and patterns accordingly, and to help the pack adjust its style and patterns accordingly to suit the conditions, to asses oppositions strengths and weaknesses and look to dominate the opposition in general play. If they do this effectively, they put their team and specifically their backs in a perfect situation to dominate the game and effectively put their team in a winning position.

In my opinion the great teams of the past, not only had solid and dependable tight forwards, they had great loose forwards. In some Springbok teams I will even go as far as to say that the backs were very ordinary, but what made them dominate games was because of the ball they used to get, not only from tight phases, but general play.

As the game continues to evolve, no other position's role changes more than that of the loose forwards. As an example, I believe that the loose forwards of today need to perform a bigger role in defense and as links in the backline than 5 years ago, because of the speed the game is played at currently and also because defensive patterns have become such a big part of the game. They don’t perform the grunt roles in the engine room guys like Venter and Kruger for instance did with huge success. It is for this reason that I find comparing great loosies of yesteryear to those of today extremely unfair.

For instance, there are those who believe that Bob Skinstad would have been a better center than a loose forward. Although I cannot fault the line of thinking, I believe we got it wrong in the days Bob played, we should have adapted our game around the ability of your great or star players, not force them to play a style that does not suit their skill or talent. That is why I believe Bob was a great loose forward, he just found himself in the wrong era. His style of play was revolutionary to many, and that is why he was so successful at it. He, with two or three other loose forwards, revolutionized and set the standard for loose forward as we know it today.

My pick at number 8, is Zinzan Brooke. He was one of the most naturally gifted and talented footballers I have had the pleasure to see play in my life. Unconventional and unpredictable are just two words that spring to mind when you think of this All Black great. To add to that he had great strength, great vision, and when he put you down in a tackle, you more often than not stayed down. He had exceptional skill and was a strong ball carrier, and with his no nonsense attitude on the park, he was one guy you would much rather play with than against.

Other great players that deserve a mention here is Tiaan Strauss and Gary Teichman.

There are so many talented blindsiders one can choose from, guys like “The Iceman” Michael Jones was one of my personal favourites and helluva intelligent. I believe Bob Skinstad should have specialized as a blindsider too, but the best in the business and one that also defined the position in my view, is Rassie Erasmus.

I think it is no secret by now that I see my blindsider as the outside center of my forwards. In fact, I want my blindsider to be of such a mould that he could easily be switched to outside center although I am definitely not a supporter of players switching positions.

Your blindsider has to be the cleverest guy of the pack; he must be the thinking rugby player and be able to perform multiple roles effectively. Rassie was all that and more. A lot of people made mention about Rassie as a similar player to Skinstad, and they were right, he was. But what made Rassie exceptional was his ability to adapt to circumstances, the opposition and the game plan. Rassie had the knack to easily slot into any role the coach wanted him to, but what was his most amazing ability in my view, is changing the way he plays on the field of play as and because of how he read the game.

In my mind there can be no doubt who the player was that defined openside play and made the position his until retirement. Although a lot of South Africans will disagree with me on this, I believe Josh Kronfeld was the master and set standards very few players have and will ever reach.

The role of the openside flank has been discussed and lauded as one of the most important in the professional era of rugby. To an extent I agree, this position or player is vitally important in the modern game to create turnovers and slow opposition ball down in open play. Because of the well designed and coached structures we find in the modern game, the only area any team stands a real chance of turning over opposition possession or put the opposition under pressure is in broken play, ruck and tackle situation. Your opensider plays a huge role in this area and is certainly a very valuable player for any team.

This guy is my mongrel. The in your face irritation you need to have and the player that constantly disrupts opposition ball. Kronfeld in my view was and still is the master in this position.

I must mention that Ruben Kruger was as good as Kronfeld, but Josh just added that extra bit of grunt in my view.

Having looked at the players I regarded as the leaders in these positions, it is vital to make another point. I believe a lot of coaches and fans, underestimate the importance of your loose trio to gel as a combination.

I could have picked my three best loose forwards in my dream team, but whether they would have been effective is another story. I am not going to analyse the role of loose forwards, but it is very important to understand that they need to work together as a combination in order for them to be successful.

Looking at last years Currie Cup, this is one area that the Cheetahs absolutely dominated in, and the only other team that came close and maybe at times overshadowed them, was the Lions.

It is strange, but proves my point on combinations, that when you consider where the majority of the Springbok loose forwards come from, being the Bulls and WP, that the Cheetahs (with only one Springbok) and the Lions were more effective in this area.

Did Jake White get it wrong? No, certainly not. The combination that Jake employs in our national side is very effective and it works for him. But guys like Joe, Schalk, Jacques and even Juan needed to gel as a combination for Jake for them to be effective.

The WP setup is the most noticeable. With players like Schalk and Joe, and even Luke Watson, one would expect them to dominate this area of the game, but strangely enough, it was this area of the game that the Blue Bulls destroyed them last year and not the scrums or line outs as most people thought would be their weakness.

It is also the same area where the Cheetahs completely overshadowed their Bulls counterparts in the Currie Cup final. Just ask Rassie what a difference Kabamba Floors made.

Rassie managed to take a talented bunch of individuals and turn them into a formidable unit and combination.

In Juan Smith you have probably the smartest forward in world rugby around. If he specializes in this position he will become a Springbok legend, and he is also a logical pick for future Springbok captain, plus, what better mentor to have than the greatest blindsider of the modern game in Rassie Erasmus.

Ryno van der Merwe is every bit a Josh Kronfeld in my view and I believe he will be a much better opensider than a number 8. He is all over the park and is a constant nuisance for all the teams that face him. He, because of this fascination with size in South Africa, is one of the most unfortunate players not to have played for his country yet.

The only weakness if you could find any would be at number 8. But looking at the combination of Van der Merwe, Smith and Scholtz, and that Smith could also fill in at number 8 you arguably have one of the best units or combinations in South Africa.

The Cheetahs, with the Lions, will continue to be successful as teams in South Africa for as long as they pick successful loose forward combinations like they have been doing, and if the Bulls and Stormer’s don’t catch a wake up soon, they will find they are way behind when they loose their tight forward monsters and sublime backline players respectively, though injury or whatever, which has kept them up there in the last couple of years.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Why the Bulls can be positive about 2006.

Following one of my earlier articles, stating the problems theBulls might face in 2006, I decided to be a bit more positive this time round. Let’s look at the reasons the Bulls have to be positive about this year.

Mental Aspect

Let’s start here. The Bulls are a close knit family and rely on this and their passion to win a lot of games. Last year they lost not only a teammate, but also a brother, an onfield leader and friend. Ettienne Botha’s death was a huge loss to this team. You could see in the final they were metally drained. They could not take any more pressure.

Another thing that they might’ve lacked last year is hunger. After losing out twice in one year, they will be hungry for success in 2006. This hunger, more than anything else, makes me exited about the year 2006. This hunger will also create a mental shift of note, they will want to go out and wipe everything in front of them. They will want to convert the almost into reality. Last year they made it into the semi’s this year I predict even bigger things.

Depth

This year sees us going into an extended tournament called the Super 14. This means squads will need to have backups and basically two competitive teams. Lets look at the depth the Bulls have in key positions.

Prop
Allthough the Bull currently struggle with injury problems in this department, just one look at their squad shows their strength in this position. They have the obvious first choice of Bands and Steenekamp. This is an frightening prospect in itself. Then you take a look at the incumbents and you beggin to realize just how Strong they are in this department. Just look at Human, Roux and Engels, and you see a proper set of props already. Most other team will give their left nut to have these guys as their first choice props.

Lock
In this department the Bulls are also blessed for choice. Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha will be the obvious first choice, but in Van Schouwenberg and Fondse they have more than capable replacements. You can even include Danie Rossouw at any time and we all know his class at 4.

Loosetrio
Now this is where it hots up. Heynecke Meyer seems to have included Danie Rossouw as a loose forward. So you have, Tim Dlulane, Pedrie Wannenbrug, Jacques Cronje, Danie Rossouw and Johan Wasserman (the only one I don’t really rate, aalhtough he has a never say die attitude.) all fighting for 3 spots. I reckon it will be 6. Dlulane and 7. Wannenburg as a first choice. We all know their class, so I’m not going to expand to much on that. What I find interesting is the fight for the no8 position. It seems as if Heynecke Meyer is looking for strong ball carrier like Anton Leonard at no8. In Danie Rossouw he has this. But what do you do to a talented man like Jacques Cronje? This is one of the positions that will be competed for at the highet intensity. With the S14 being as long as it is, I feel that Heynecke Meyer is lucky to have two no8’s of this quality in his squad. Big selection headache me thinks!

Midfield
Now we get to the midfield. In Dries Scholts, JP Nel and Wynand Olivier, the Bulls have three extremely talented centres. I don’t mention Rudi Coetsee, as I have not seen him play at this level a lot. Anyway, I think out of these, my first choice combination would be Dries Scholts and JP Nel. But what do you do with Wynand Olivier then? Like I said before, luckily this season will be long and all players in the squad should get an opportunity. Seems like it is not only the Stormers that have a selection headache in the midfield.

Back three
Maybe not the whole back three, I fear that we don’t have a quality backup for Johan Roets. We all know this guy has a fearless attitude to rugby and he is an exceptional player. He is strong under the high ball (although OO wil have you believe differently!) and a fearless defender. But if he should be injured, we might not have a good backup for him, as for the wings, well there the Bulls have real class. Our first choice wings would be Habana and Ndungane, but in Mamatesa ( a guy I rate higher than Ndungane!), Demas and Nontshinga (another player I like a lot!) we have speedsters that would walk into any SA team, except maybe the Stormers.

That concludes my take on the depth on the squad, but sorry, I’m not done yet, one final point and that is,

Link Between Flyhalf and his inside centre

I see this as one of the most underrated combinations, btu having played both, know the importance of this combination. You’ll remember me saying earlier in this article that I would make Dries Scholts first choice inside centre. My reason for this is easy, I believe Derrick Hougaard will be the first choice flyhalf in the Bulls squad. With him standing as deep as he does, I like the idea of Dries Scholts next to him. He will probably get over tge advantage line more often than not. That is because he has speed (he runs the 100m under 11 sec’s) and size. This will calm Hougaard down and he’ll be left to perform his magic with the boot. My only concern with this is that our wings might never see the ball in this scenario, but you’ll never know. The Bulls had the advantage of training with the backline coach of the 2003 WC winning English team. This will allow the Bulls to have 2 different approaches to any game. Tight or expansive, much like the world cup winning English backline.

That concludes my take on the Bulls chances in the 2006 Super 14. Feel free to tell me if I’ve got it completely wrong or whether you agree. Also add what I might’ve missed.

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Rasta Mahn is nervy in the olde 'Hood

According to Jan de Koning who had written this piece on www.rugby365.com, Mr Johan Erasmus, Head Coach of the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs, is a nervy man as the Cheetahs travels today to his old metropolis, Port Elizabeth.

'Nervous' Erasmus ready for the challenge
Monday January 09 2006
Benetton Treviso heading to South Africa

Rassie Erasmus, admittedly very nervous ahead of his first season as a Super 14 coach, is looking forward to the Cheetahs' debut season in SANZAR's provincial showpiece event.

The Cheetahs, who are back in training at their Bloemfontein base, have an interesting pre-season programme - which includes matches against the Southern Spears, the Western Force and Italian powerhouse Benetton Treviso.

They will open their campaign in the Super 14 on February 10, when the Cheetahs play the Bulls in Bloemfontein.

But for now Erasmus' focus is firmly on the pre-season friendlies, which will be his yardstick to see where his team stands.

"You are always nervous before the start of the season, especially the Super 14 [a much bigger challenge than the Currie Cup, which the Cheetahs won last year]," Erasmus said,

"It will take us a few games to get the cohesion right. The main aim of our pre-season matches is to gel the team into a unit.

"We have the talent, the [players have the commitment and we have all the facilities. There is nothing I can complain about. It is now just a matter of putting it all into play in the warm-up matches," he added.

The Cheetahs do have a few pre-season injury concerns.

Springbok loose forward Henro Scholtz is still recovering from his shoulder surgery, Bian Vermaak (a lock/flank) is also recovering from a shoulder injury, Rory Duncan (another utility forward) is recovering from knee surgery and wing Gavin Passens is also struggling with a leg injury.

There remains doubt over the availability of Springbok prop CJ van der Linde, who has a serious foot injury. Although the exact extent of the injury has not been confirmed, Erasmus has him down as a doubtful starter for the tournament.

The warm-up match against the Southern Spears, in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, is the ideal blow-out for the Cheetahs.

Erasmus says he knows very little against the opposition (who is a combination of Eastern Province, Border and South Western Districts).

"The match will give us an indication as to how far we are down the road - in terms of match fitness and contact play," Erasmus said.

He won't be fielding a full-strength team and will take a 26-man squad to PE. All 26 players will get game time, most of them at least a half.

After that it is a trip to Pert where they will face the Western Force on January 21.

Erasmus feels it will be an ideal "dry run" to see how his charges cope with travelling.

The final warm-up is against Benetton Treviso, in Welkom on January 28. Treviso is the current log leaders in the Italian Super 10 competition, although their Heineken Cup form has not been as impressive.

They also have a number of well-known South Africans in their ranks.

Players like utility back Marius Goosen and utility forward Marco Wentzel will know exactly what to expect of the Cheetahs.

"They will be a great test for us ahead of the Super 14," Erasmus said.

Springbok flank Juan Smith will be leading the Cheetahs, after taking over from recently retired Naka Drotské.

Smith, who made his Springbok debut against Scotland in 2002, is a very experienced player and played in the 2003 World Cup. He is also confident ahead of the upcoming season.

"We are fortunate to have very good forwards and a talented backline," Smith said. "We have Meyer Bosman and Willem de Waal at fly-half and Keith Lowen and Barry Goodes at centre. And the list of good players goes on."

By Jan de Koning

OORB BLOG BOOK Friday 13th Jan 2006

As Friday the 13th arrives for all of us to experience, it is also the day before the Southern Spears host the Vodacom Cheetahs at the EP Rugby Ground in Port Elizabeth.

In a The Herald online article- Spears players hoping to see red- Sbongile Dimbaza is reporting on the status of the game and provides important information for people who wants to attend the game. It seems that the official Spears site is not carrying anything new at the moment. In stark irony with the "lets paint the town red" wave of the Spears, the Cheetahs will be welcomed by a nice piece of homely colour - courtesy of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.


Donner has posted a piece on the action with a Cheetah niggle attached and you can view and comment on www.ruggaworld.blogspot.com. The game will also streamed live on the internet so visit the Spears website - link provided on OORB home page

The two articles of note that was published by Hendrik Cronje in today's Volksblad and that is available on www.volksblad.com is quite interesting.

In Cheetahs wil in Super 14 met groter flair speel, it is reported that Franco Smith- the backline coach of the Vodacom Cheetahs- wants to test a new attacking plan against the Spears- as attack will be of similar importance to the Vodacom Cheetahs as their trusted 2005 defence.

The other article- Ockie van Zyl kan impakspeler vir Super 14 word - is shedding some light on the role of Ockie van Zyl- loose forward/lock from the Griffons- in the 2006 campaign. It seems that he will be part of a super-sub squad that Mr Rassie Erasmus will use to impose a specific gameplan in the later stages of certain games.



The other interesting discussion point of the day so far is a post on Keo.co.za that is about the draft and the fact that no-one was actually drafted. The comments later turned out to be more about the quota requirements than the draft - but there were some interesting points made.

Please visit these sites and comment and debate on OORB. It will be interesting to see your views.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

OORB BLOG BOOK 12 Jan 2006 1315

It seems that the flow of news with regard to hardcore happenings in the world of Rugby Union is not at a very racey speed today.

Hendrik Cronje has written a story in Volksblad that is available online at www.volksblad.com in which he clearly projects the feeling in the Cheetah Camp that they should be wary of the Southern Spears in their January 14 warm-up Clash.

It is the view of OORB that a lot of bad press had been published on the chances of the Spurs- but that it will be of paramount importance to the future of South African Rugby that the individuals responsible for the Southern Spears- be willing and able to take up the Red Chalice and convert promise and asperation into critic-silencing performances on the field over the next 3 seasons.

I am still of the opinion that it is a two way-honour, both for the Cheetahs and the Spears to be involved in Saturday's match and I hope that the Cheetah Players & management will conduct themselves in a classy and mandarin-like manner this weekend. I am sure that Tony McKeever will be welcoming the Vodacom Cheetahs as friends of the field in the Windy City and that Ashlee Johnson and his team will take them on with everything they have.

Yes if they put 50 points past the Spears- lets cheer, because that is what is expected- but in that Cheering process let us celebrate the game of Rugby Union and not jeer at the hopes and asperations of others, which had been in rugby terms, also been , like the Free State, Griquas & the Griffons, been denied a fair share of the Rugby table.

It is clear that the Cheetah Management & Players does take the possibility of defeat into serious consideration and the best way of ensuring that defeat is not inflicted on them is to do the obvious- execute the coach's gameplan... to perfection

So enjoy it Vodacom Cheetahs... you are part of a historic moment.. do us proud.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

OORB POST BOX

As the 2006 debate is heating up OORB will post a daily post- so around noonish- that will advise on good arties on other blogs and or slagg of cripple ones. This maybe even turn out to be a editorial type of thing- so comment on issues that is Bloem related and OORB might even do a story on that.

You are welcome to add your ideas and general comments on this post.

Oranje Orakel wants to highlight two great postings today- both on www.ruggaworld.blogspot.com

First PissAnt posted a good read on attacking play named Attacking the attacking game and then Rasputin had posted a well researched piece on the Jewish contribution to Bok history.

Please go and read it will be well worth your while. Just make sure that if you are past 65 and want to read PA's arti that you have already been to the loo, otherwise you will have to start all over again.

There is a couple of good informative posts on Keo.co.za but it seems more that story already on the net had been re worked.

For me the most interesting snippet of today, thus far is the part where Hendrik Cronje is speculating in the Volksblad-and on the website www.volksblad.com that young Pierre Spies might be turning out at 8 for the Bulls this year.

This will surely add some pace to the Bulls defence.

Hopefully Aldo & BloemBull can add some insight here.

Cheers

Oranje Orakel

Monday, January 09, 2006

Bulls warmup fixtures


This article first appeared on www.bluebulls.co.za
All imagery from the same site.


Ellis Park has thrown open its gates for the match between the Vodacom Bulls and the Cats on 14 Januarie, when two teams from each franchise will be squaring up in the first warm-up games of 2006.
The first match will take place at 14:30, with the second kicking off just after 16:00. Attendance will be free.



A week later, the Bulls will travel to Cape Town for the second warm-up against the Stormers. Tickets are available from any Shoprite / Checkers store in Cape Town and at the stadium from 17 January. Ticket prices are: R20 for unreserved seating and R10 for standing tickets.



The Bulls will wrap up their preparations with their annual fixture against the Sharks at Sun City on 28 January. This match is always played in a festive atmosphere with the beautiful Pilanesberg forming the backdrop. Further details about packages will soon follow



Friday, January 06, 2006

When a plan gomes together

When OORB phoned the Chairperson of the Vodacom Cheetah Supporters Club late last year- about news from the Club, he was met with rather an annoyed "snotgesig- bogger off" kind of attitude- which did not bother him because it is the South African way. Just hope that the play on-field is not reflected or influenced by the general exclusive attitude of the "powers that be".

In comparison, the other Super 14 newbie in 2006 has now stopped taking in new members. Eish no substitute for good planning . Article & Photo from the Official Force Website.




Emirates Western Force cracks 20,000 Members

Friday, January 06, 2006RugbyWA

The Emirates Western Force will play in front of more than 20,000 members in 2006


More than 20,000 people have now become members of the Emirates Western Force, reinforcing its position as Australia's biggest club in the Tooheys New Super 14 competition.
And, a recent survey shows the majority of Emirates Western Force members do not have memberships with other professional sporting organisations in WA.
The on-line survey of 4000 members indicates that more than 80% of all respondents were not members of the WACA, West Coast Eagles, Fremantle Dockers, Perth Glory or Perth Wildcats in 2005.
RugbyWA chief executive Peter O'Meara said the results suggested the Emirates Western Force had provided many West Australians with the opportunity to become members of a professional sporting organization for the first time.
"We are not taking fans away from the other codes. By and large, we are catering for a lot of West Australians whose sport of choice is rugby and they have been patiently waiting for the professional game to arrive," he said.
Mr O'Meara said he was delighted with the latest membership count and grateful for the support of the WA public.
He said that with around 270 companies having secured corporate hospitality packages, he expected Subiaco Oval to be buzzing with energy and excitement on game-day.
Mr O'Meara said the first opportunity to see the Emirates Western Force play would be at the trial match against South African team, the Cheetahs, at Subiaco Oval on Saturday 21 January.
Cut-price tickets for the pre-season game against the Cheetahs can be bought through Ticketmaster and will go on sale to members on Monday January 9 and the general public on Thursday January 12.
** Members of the public wanting to become members of the Emirates Western Force for the 2006 season have until the end of January. No further membership applications (other than out-of-town membership applications) will be accepted after January 31, 2006. Memberships for the 2007 season will be launched later in the year.

INFORMATION ON SUBIACO OVAL



Home to the Western Warriors, Fremantle Dockers and West Coast Eagles AFL Football teams, Subiaco Oval is the largest and most recognised stadium in Western Australia, with a capacity of over 43,000 and world-class facilities.
Subiaco was built in 1908 and was then known as Mueler Park, with the first match on 9th of May in that year between Subiaco and East Perth. The facilities have been consistently improved since that time. The 3-Tier Stand which dominates the end behind the goals opened on 31 August 1969 and the 2-Tier Stand on the members’ wing on 27 April 1981. The ANZ Stand opposite the members stand opened on 14 May 1995, that stand included 2-Tiers of seating and also Corporate boxes on the wing.


The importance of phase play

I got this of rugby 365. Phase play is a word thrown around a lot these days and not everybody uinderstands the importance. This explains it pretty well.

The Guru, the wisest coach in all the world, talks this week about phase play, unknown a few years ago but now an essential part of a coach's jargon.
By phase play, I mean deliberately working your team into positions or to a platform from where a certain type of attack will be much more effectively set up, because of its position on the field of play, than from where you start- and therefore have a very good chance of success. In order to do this, you will have to take the ball through several continuous phases of play.
Let me take, as an example, a line-out on the right hand side of the field. I have a flyhalf who is an excellent right-footed kicker of drops. There are only minutes to go in the game and my side is two points shy of my opponents’ score. We have found it extremely difficult to penetrate the shift-defence of our opponents. We now realise that the only thing that is likely to win us this game is the flyhalf’s drop from this line-out - but the line-out is on the wrong side for his boot. However, knowing his strength and our penetrative weaknesses, we have worked on a ploy in practice that should fit the bill.
We throw the ball in to 6 or 7 in the line-out, deep because we want to get as close to the middle of the field as we can. The ball is played off the top of the line-out (we want a quick ball off which to set up a drive with momentum and we do not wish to tie up the jumper’s two supporters to the extent where they cannot get out of the maul that would ensue were we to bring the ball down from the line-out). From this off-the-top ball we play down to the front of line-out “pod 1”, consisting of hooker, prop and lock, who take the ball up to the left and towards the posts. Their object is to go as far forward as possible, going at a slight angle in towards the posts. Were the angle to be too wide, they would be running sideways and thus fairly easy to take out. The first pod is now to play to the second pod, moving around it on the left, consisting of the other lock, prop and one loose forward, from the ruck that it has set up. It has formed it just before actually making contact with opponents but not before committing them, thus guaranteeing a quick, clean ball, which scrumhalf picks up to pass to the second pod, coming around and forward towards the posts (forgive the long sentences but this is a long, continuous bit of phase play- you must have patience). Pod 2 also goes early to ground but not before taking the ball up and “fixing”, or drawing, their opposites. Ball again comes back quickly, cleanly, and is fed to the flyhalf who is straight in front of the posts, now, behind pod 2 and his scrumhalf and far away enough from his opponents not to be bothered by them but close enough to the posts to put his drop over. We win the game. Phase play!
Like it or not, phase play is the type of game employed by almost every nation in the world that plays rugby at any high level. Every facet of the game is worked out. Where are we in the field? What sort of attack would be best from here or would it be better to move the ball to some other spot which would better suit? We want to penetrate through the centres, therefore it is important to take out as many defenders, especially backline defenders, as possible before releasing the ball to our fighter plane, the centre. Therefore we must take the ball through three or four phases, each time drawing opponents into contact and thus out of defence. As Ian McIntosh, past Springbok coach, used to call it, subtracting and adding, meaning taking out their players (subtracting) by pulling them into deliberate contact, and adding our players to the attack. Analysts have worked out how many tries are scored after numbers of consecutive plays or phases and it seems, the greater the number of consecutive phases, the greater the chances of scoring.
I have put this simply. Let me go on a bit. To play this sort of rugby, every player must know where to go after each phase either to help to set up the next phase or to become part of the attack or attack-support or a dummy-runner, and so on. It simplifies the game for the player (and perhaps the coach) and makes for a very effective unit. So, the game becomes a series of phased plays (rather like American football). Generally accepted is that play off first phase is unlikely to be immediately successful in scoring points, that “off the cuff” play can be immediately successful but is not sustainable because it cannot be anticipated and therefore is unlikely to build to second , third or fourth phases.
How does it come about that rugby with its infinite possibilities is now becoming rather predictable and somewhat boring to play and watch (and coach- all you need is a good text book)? The answer in my opinion is that the law changes that have almost guaranteed the side that goes into contact carrying the ball will win it have done that damage. Hence the set defences, set because you know you will not win the opponent’s ball- hence the many phases, because you know you are most likely to win the ball which you have taken in to contact; you know that you will win your scrum, line-out, kick-off etc. The variables are out of the game- there is no longer fifty-fifty ball, only ninety-nine–one ball. Sad!
There is a sportswriter in this part of the world who calls me the last of the romantic coaches- somehow, I don't feel insulted.
However, there is no point in bewailing what has occurred in our sport. Today’s solutions are tomorrow’s problems, as our law-makers keep making obvious to us.
I should like to bring to the attention of all coaches and players who study this game the excellent CD, ‘Grassroots Rugby’ brought out by Alan Hutchinson of Ireland. In it he gives the seven foundations of play which lead to successful rugby. His diagrams are very clear and good as are his comments, his drills and his coaching tips. Whoever you are, if you are involved in playing, coaching or even just watching rugby, you need this CD as it gives you a much better understanding of the modern game of rugby. I say this genuinely as neither I nor Rugby 365 has been cajoled into even mentioning this coaching aid. I do it because I think it good and I love my rugby. It has certainly made me re-think my game.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Swan is looking after the hatchlings

This article & photo from www.rugbywa.com.au





RugbyWA Challenge Cup Launched

Thursday, January 05, 2006
RugbyWA


Emirates Western Force Academy head coach Steve McFarland will help oversee the cup

RugbyWA has today launched a new preseason competition for 2006, involving players from the Emirates Western Force.

The RugbyWA Challenge Cup is designed to provide high quality rugby in the February/March window ahead of what will be an exciting 2006.

The tournament will be played over three consecutive weekends. The four sides will be selected from the Emirates Western Force playing squad, Perth Gold players from 2005, Under 19 development players and Emirates Western Force Academy players.

Clubs will also be asked to nominate players for consideration. The program will be overseen by the soon to be appointed Perth Gold head coach and Emirates Western Force Academy Head Coach Steve McFarland.

All matches will be played as double headers at Rugby Park , Perry Lakes on the following dates:

18 February 2006

25 February 2006

4 March 2006

From these matches, a Perth Gold squad will be selected for the 2006 Australian Rugby Shield. The tournament will also give much needed match fitness to those professional players and match officials involved in the 2006 Premier Rugby season.

Squads will be selected in mid-January. RugbyWA encourages all clubs to participate and to advise their players and coaches of this opportunity as soon as possible.




Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Fixtures for the 2006 season

After a nice and relaxing festive season, it’s time to get back to work. To get us all into the swing of things, I thought I’d publish the full list of fixtures for the 2006 season. This includes the S14, Vodacom cup, age groups and both CC devisions as well as home Springbok Tests. I got this information of the Bluebulls website.

Please note that this is provisional and some changes might occur, but it is still nice to print out and put on the Fridge door.

Fri 10 Feb
08:35 Blues vs Hurricanes Vodacom Super 14 Auckland
13:05 Western Force vs Brumbies Vodacom Super 14 Perth
19:10 Cheetahs vs Bulls Vodacom Super 14 Bloemfontein

Sat 11 Feb
08:35 Crusaders vs Highlanders Vodacom Super 14 Christchurch
11:40 Reds vs Waratahs Vodacom Super 14 Brisbane
17:00 Cats vs Stormers Vodacom Super 14 Johannesburg
19:10 Sharks vs Chiefs Vodacom Super 14 Durban
Free State vs Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup Bloemfontein
Leopards vs Pumas Vodacom Cup Potchefstroom
Griffons vs Falcons Vodacom Cup Welkom
Boland vs Griquas Vodacom Cup Wellington
SWD vs Sharks Vodacom Cup George
E.P. vs Western Province Vodacom Cup Port Elizabeth

Fri 17 Feb
08:35 Highlanders vs Blues Vodacom Super 14 Dunedin
18:00 Cats vs Chiefs Vodacom Super 14 Johannesburg
20:00 Bulls vs Brumbies Vodacom Super 14 Pretoria
Sat 18 Feb
08:35 Hurricanes vs Western Force Vodacom Super 14 TBC
11:00 Reds vs Crusaders Vodacom Super 14 Brisbane
17:00 Sharks vs Cheetahs Vodacom Super 14 Durban
19:10 Stormers vs Waratahs Vodacom Super 14 Cape Town
Western Province vs Lions Vodacom Cup Cape Town
Sharks vs Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup Durban
Griffons vs Border Vodacom Cup Welkom
Boland vs Pumas Vodacom Cup Wellington
SWD vs Falcons Vodacom Cup George
E.P. vs Griquas Vodacom Cup Port Elizabeth

Fri 24 Feb
08:35 Hurricanes vs Cats Vodacom Super 14 TBC
13:05 Western Force vs Chiefs Vodacom Super 14 Perth
19:10 Stormers vs Brumbies Vodacom Super 14 Cape Town
Sat 25 Feb
06:30 Crusaders vs Sharks Vodacom Super 14 Timaru
11:35 Reds vs Blues Vodacom Super 14 Brisbane
17:00 Bulls vs Waratahs Vodacom Super 14 Pretoria
19:10 Cheetahs vs Highlanders Vodacom Super 14 Bloemfontein
Griquas vs Western Province Vodacom Cup Kimberley
Falcons vs Free State Vodacom Cup Brakpan
Pumas vs Lions Vodacom Cup Witbank
Border vs Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup East London
SWD vs Griffons Vodacom Cup George
E.P. vs Leopards Vodacom Cup Port Elizabeth

Fri 3 Mar
08:35 Chiefs vs Reds Vodacom Super 14 TBC
10:40 Brumbies vs Cats Vodacom Super 14 Canberra
Sat 4 Mar
06:30 Waratahs vs Sharks Vodacom Super 14 Sydney
08:35 Crusaders vs Blues Vodacom Super 14 Christchurch
17:00 Stormers vs Highlanders Vodacom Super 14 Cape Town
19:10 Cheetahs vs Hurricanes Vodacom Super 14 Kimberly
Western Province vs Sharks Vodacom Cup Cape Town
Griquas vs Free State Vodacom Cup Kimberley
Falcons vs Lions Vodacom Cup Brakpan
Pumas vs Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup Witbank
Border vs E.P. Vodacom Cup East London
Leopards vs SWD Vodacom Cup Potchefstroom
Griffons vs Boland Vodacom Cup Welkom

Fri 10 Mar
08:35 Chiefs vs Crusaders Vodacom Super 14 TBC
10:40 Waratahs vs Cats Vodacom Super 14 Sydney
Sat 11 Mar
10:00 Brumbies vs Sharks Vodacom Super 14 Canberra
12:05 Reds vs Western Force Vodacom Super 14 Brisbane
17:00 Bulls vs Highlanders Vodacom Super 14 Pretoria
19:10 Stormers vs Hurricanes Vodacom Super 14 Cape Town
Griquas vs Sharks Vodacom Cup Kimberley
Falcons vs Western Province Vodacom Cup Brakpan
Pumas vs Free State Vodacom Cup Witbank
Border vs Lions Vodacom Cup East London
Leopards vs Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup Potchefstroom
Griffons vs E.P. Vodacom Cup Welkom
Boland vs SWD Vodacom Cup Wellington

Fri 17 Mar
08:35 Crusaders vs Cats Vodacom Super 14 Christchurch
13:00 Western Force vs Waratahs Vodacom Super 14 Perth
19:10 Bulls vs Hurricanes Vodacom Super 14 Pretoria
Sat 18 Mar
06:30 Blues vs Brumbies Vodacom Super 14 Auckland
08:35 Highlanders vs Sharks Vodacom Super 14 Dunedin
17:00 Stormers vs Cheetahs Vodacom Super 14 Cape Town
Falcons vs Sharks Vodacom Cup Brakpan
Pumas vs Western Province Vodacom Cup Witbank
Border vs Free State Vodacom Cup East London
Leopards vs Lions Vodacom Cup Potchefstroom
Griffons vs Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup Welkom
E.P. vs Boland Vodacom Cup Port Elizabeth

Fri 24 Mar
09:00 Hurricanes vs Sharks Vodacom Super 14 TBC
11:05 Waratahs vs Blues Vodacom Super 14 Sydney
19:10 Cheetahs vs Reds Vodacom Super 14 Bloemfontein
Sat 25 Mar
07:30 Brumbies vs Chiefs Vodacom Super 14 Canberra
09:00 Highlanders vs Cats Vodacom Super 14 Invercargill
14:05 Western Force vs Bulls Vodacom Super 14 Perth
Falcons vs Griquas Vodacom Cup Brakpan
Pumas vs Sharks Vodacom Cup Witbank
Border vs Western Province Vodacom Cup East London
Leopards vs Free State Vodacom Cup Potchefstroom
Griffons vs Lions Vodacom Cup Welkom
Boland vs Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup Wellington
SWD vs E.P. Vodacom Cup George

Fri 31 Mar
09:00 Blues vs Bulls Vodacom Super 14 Auckland
11:05 Waratahs vs Cheetahs Vodacom Super 14 Sydney
13:00 Western Force vs Stormers Vodacom Super 14 Perth
Sat 1 Apr
07:30 Hurricanes vs Crusaders Vodacom Super 14 TBC
09:35 Chiefs vs Highlanders Vodacom Super 14 TBC
17:00 Sharks vs Reds Vodacom Super 14 Durban
Sharks vs Free State Vodacom Cup Durban
Griquas vs Lions Vodacom Cup Kimberley
Falcons vs Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup Brakpan
Boland vs Leopards Vodacom Cup Wellington
SWD vs Border Vodacom Cup George
E.P. vs Pumas Vodacom Cup Port Elizabeth

Fri 7 Apr
09:35 Crusaders vs Waratahs Vodacom Super 14 Christchurch
Sat 8 Apr
04:35 Highlanders vs Western Force Vodacom Super 14 Dunedin
07:30 Chiefs vs Bulls Vodacom Super 14 TBC
09:35 Blues vs Stormers Vodacom Super 14 Auckland
11:40 Brumbies vs Cheetahs Vodacom Super 14 Canberra
17:00 Cats vs Reds Vodacom Super 14 Johannesburg
Griquas vs Pumas Vodacom Cup Kimberley
Border vs Sharks Vodacom Cup East London
Leopards vs Western Province Vodacom Cup Potchefstroom
Griffons vs Free State Vodacom Cup Welkom
Boland vs Lions Vodacom Cup Wellington
SWD vs Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup George

Fri 14 Apr
09:35 Blues vs Western Force Vodacom Super 14 Auckland
Sat 15 Apr
07:30 Crusaders vs Cheetahs Vodacom Super 14 Christchurch
09:35 Chiefs vs Stormers Vodacom Super 14 TBC
11:40 Reds vs Bulls Vodacom Super 14 Brisbane
17:00 Cats vs Sharks Vodacom Super 14 Johannesburg
Pumas vs Falcons Vodacom Cup Witbank
Border vs Griquas Vodacom Cup East London
Leopards vs Sharks Vodacom Cup Potchefstroom
Griffons vs Western Province Vodacom Cup Welkom
Boland vs Free State Vodacom Cup Wellington
SWD vs Lions Vodacom Cup George
E.P. vs Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup Port Elizabeth
Sun 16 Apr
04:35 Highlanders vs Hurricanes Vodacom Super 14 Dunedin
11:40 Waratahs vs Brumbies Vodacom Super 14 Sydney

Fri 21 Apr
09:35 Chiefs vs Cheetahs Vodacom Super 14 TBC
11:40 Reds vs Stormers Vodacom Super 14 Brisbane
13:40 Western Force vs Crusaders Vodacom Super 14 Perth
Sat 22 Apr
11:40 Brumbies vs Hurricanes Vodacom Super 14 Canberra
15:00 Sharks vs Blues Vodacom Super 14 Durban
17:00 Bulls vs Cats Vodacom Super 14 Pretoria
Blue Bulls vs Lions Vodacom Cup Pretoria
Griquas vs Griffons Vodacom Cup Kimberley
Pumas vs Border Vodacom Cup Witbank
Leopards vs falcons Vodacom Cup Potchefstroom
Boland vs Sharks Vodacom Cup Wellington
SWD vs Western Province Vodacom Cup George
E.P. vs Free State Vodacom Cup Port Elizabeth

Fri 28 Apr
09:35 Highlanders vs Waratahs Vodacom Super 14 Dunedin
19:10 Cats vs Western force Vodacom Super 14 Johannesburg
Sat 29 Apr
09:35 Hurricanes vs Chiefs Vodacom Super 14 TBC
11:40 Brumbies vs Reds Vodacom Super 14 Canberra
15:00 Cheetahs vs Blues Vodacom Super 14 Bloemfontein
17:00 Bulls vs Sharks Vodacom Super 14 Pretoria
19:00 Stormers vs Crusaders Vodacom Super 14 Cape Town
Blue Bulls vs Western Province Vodacom Cup Pretoria
Lions vs Free State Vodacom Cup Johannesburg
Griquas vs SWD Vodacom Cup Kimberley
Falcons vs Boland Vodacom Cup Brakpan
Pumas vs Griffons Vodacom Cup Witbank
Border vs Leopards Vodacom Cup East London
E.P. vs Sharks Vodacom Cup Port Elizabeth

Fri 5 May
09:35 Hurricanes vs Reds Vodacom Super 14 TBC
19:10 Bulls vs Crusaders Vodacom Super 14 Pretoria
Sat 6 May
09:35 Chiefs vs Waratahs Vodacom Super 14 TBC
11:40 Brumbies vs Highlanders Vodacom Super 14 Canberra
15:00 Cheetahs vs Western Force Vodacom Super 14 Kimberley
17:00 Sharks vs Stormers Vodacom Super 14 Durban
19:10 Cats vs Blues Vodacom Super 14 Johannesburg
Lions vs Sharks Vodacom Cup Johannesburg
Free State vs Western Province Vodacom Cup Bloemfontein
Griquas vs Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup Kimberley
Falcons vs E.P. Vodacom Cup Brakpan
Pumas vs SWD Vodacom Cup Witbank
Border vs Boland Vodacom Cup East London
Leopards vs Griffons Vodacom Cup Potchefstroom

Fri 12 May
09:35 Crusaders vs Brumbies Vodacom Super 14 Christchurch
11:40 Reds vs Highlanders Vodacom Super 14 Brisbane
19:10 Sharks vs Western Force Vodacom Super 14 Durban
Sat 13 May
09:35 Blues vs Chiefs Vodacom Super 14 Auckland
11:40 Waratahs vs Hurricanes Vodacom Super 14 Sydney
15:00 Cheetahs vs Cats Vodacom Super 14 Bloemfontein
17:00 Stormers vs Bulls Vodacom Super 14 Cape Town
Griquas vs Leopards Vodacom Cup Kimberley
Falcons vs Border Vodacom Cup Brakpan
Griffons vs Sharks Vodacom Cup Welkom
Boland vs Western Province Vodacom Cup Wellington
SWD vs Free State Vodacom Cup George
E.P. vs Lions Vodacom Cup Port Elizabeth

Fri 19 May
Semi 1 Vodacom Super 14
19/20 May
FINAL Vodacom Cup

Sat 20 May
Semi 2 Vodacom Super 14

Sat 27 May
Final Vodacom Super 14

10 Jun South Africa vs Scotland Incoming Test TO BE CONFIRMED

16/17 June
First E vs First D ABSA CC First Div
First F vs First C ABSA CC First Div
First G vs First B ABSA CC First Div

17 June
South Africa vs Scotland Incoming Test TO BE CONFIRMED

23/24 June
Free State vs SEC ABSA CC Premier Bloemfontein
Blue Bulls vs Qualify 1 ABSA CC Premier Pretoria
Qualify 2 vs Western Province ABSA CC Premier TBC
Natal vs Lions ABSA CC Premier Durban
First A vs First G ABSA CC First Div
First B vs First F ABSA CC First Div
First C vs First E ABSA CC First Div

24 Jun
South Africa vs France Incoming Test TO BE CONFIRMED

26 - 29 June
U-16 Coca Cola Grant Khomo Week Wellington

26 - 29 June
U-18 National Academy Week TBC
25 June - 1 July
U-18 Special Schools Craven Week TBC

1/2 July
Western Province vs Natal ABSA CC Premier Cape Town
Lions vs Blue Bulls ABSA CC Premier Johannesburg
Qualify 1 vs Free Sate ABSA CC Premier TBC
SEC vs Qualify 2 ABSA CC Premier TBC
First D vs First C ABSA CC First Div
First E vs First B ABSA CC First Div
First F vs First A ABSA CC First Div

3 - 7 July
U-13 Coca Cola Craven Week Oudtshoorn

7/8 July
Free Sate vs Lions ABSA CC Premier Bloemfontein
Blue Bulls vs Western Province ABSA CC Premier Pretoria
Natal vs Qualify 2 ABSA CC Premier Durban
Qualify 1 vs SEC ABSA CC Premier TBC
First A vs First E ABSA CC First Div
First B vs First D ABSA CC First Div
First G vs First F ABSA CC First Div

9 - 15 July
U-18 Coca Cola Craven Week Johannesburg

14/15 July
Lions vs Qualify 1 ABSA CC Premier Johannesburg
SEC vs Natal ABSA CC Premier TBC
Qualify 2 vs Blue Bulls ABSA CC Premier TBC
Western Province vs Free State ABSA CC Premier Cape Town
First C vs First B ABSA CC First Div
First D vs First A ABSA CC First Div
First E vs First G ABSA CC First Div

21/22 July
Free State vs Qualify 2 ABSA CC Premier Bloemfontein
Blue Bulls vs Natal ABSA CC Premier Pretoria
Lions vs SEC ABSA CC Premier Johannesburg
Qualify 1 vs Western Province ABSA CC Premier TBC
First A vs First C ABSA CC First Div
First F vs First E ABSA CC First Div
First G vs First D ABSA CC First Div

28/29 July
Blue Bulls vs SEC ABSA CC Premier Pretoria
Western Province vs Lions ABSA CC Premier Cape Town
Qualify 1 vs Qualify 2 ABSA CC Premier TBC
Natal vs Free State ABSA CC Premier Durban
First C vs First G ABSA CC First Div
First D vs First F ABSA CC First Div
First B vs First A ABSA CC First Div

4/5 Aug
Free State vs Blue Bulls ABSA CC Premier Bloemfontein
Lions vs Qualify 2 ABSA CC Premier Johannesburg
SEC vs Western Province ABSA CC Premier TBC
Qualify 1 vs Natal ABSA CC Premier TBC

11/12 Aug
First B vs First G ABSA CC First Div
First C vs First F ABSA CC First Div
First D vs First E ABSA CC First Div
SWD vs Falcons U21 + U19B George
E.P. vs Pumas U21 + U19B Port Elizabeth
Griffons vs Boland U21 + U19B Welkom

18/19 Aug
Lions vs Natal ABSA CC Premier Johannesburg
Western Province vs Qualify 2 ABSA CC Premier Cape Town
Qualify 1 vs Blue Bulls ABSA CC Premier TBC
SEC vs Free State ABSA CC Premier TBC
First E vs First C ABSA CC First Div
First F vs First B ABSA CC First Div
First G vs First A ABSA CC First Div
Lions vs Natal U21 + U19A Johannesburg
Western Province vs Griquas U21 + U19A Cape Town
Leopards vs Blue Bulls U21 + U19A Potchefstroom
Boland vs E.P. U21 + U19B Wellington
Pumas vs SWD U21 + U19B Witbank
Falcons vs Border U21 + U19B Brakpan

25/26 Aug
Free State vs Qualify 1 ABSA CC Premier Bloemfontein
Blue Bulls vs Lions ABSA CC Premier Pretoria
Natal vs Western Province ABSA CC Premier Durban
Qualify 2 vs SEC ABSA CC Premier TBC
First A vs First F ABSA CC First Div
First B vs First E ABSA CC First Div
First C vs First D ABSA CC First Div
Free State vs Leopards U21 + U19A Bloemfontein
Blue Bulls vs Lions U21 + U19A Pretoria
Natal vs Western Province U21 + U19A Durban
Border vs Pumas U21 + U19B East London
SWD vs Boland U21 + U19B George
E.P. vs Griffons U21 + U19B Port Elizabeth

1/2 Sep Western Province vs Blue Bulls ABSA CC Premier Cape Town
Qualify 2 vs Natal ABSA CC Premier TBC
Lions vs Free State ABSA CC Premier Johannesburg
SEC vs Qualify 1 ABSA CC Premier TBC
First D vs First B ABSA CC First Div
First E vs First A ABSA CC First Div
First F vs First G ABSA CC First Div
Western Province vs Blue Bulls U21 + U19A Cape Town
Griquas vs Natal U21 + U19A Kimberley
Lions vs Free State U21 + U19A Johannesburg
Griffons vs SWD U21 + U19B Welkom
Boland vs Border U21 + U19B Wellington
Pumas vs Falcons U21 + U19B Witbank

8/9 Sep
Free State vs Western Province ABSA CC Premier Bloemfontein
Blue Bulls vs Qualify 2 ABSA CC Premier Pretoria
Natal vs SEC ABSA CC Premier Durban
Qualify 1 vs Lions ABSA CC Premier TBC
First A vs First D ABSA CC First Div
First B vs First C ABSA CC First Div
First G vs First E ABSA CC First Div
Free State vs Western Province U21 + U19A Bloemfontein
Blue Bulls vs Griquas U21 + U19A Pretoria
Leopards vs Lions U21 + U19A Potchefstroom
Border vs Griffons U21 + U19B East London
SWD vs E.P. U21 + U19B George
Falcons vs Boland U21 + U19B Brakpan

15/16 Sep
Western Province vs Qualify 1 ABSA CC Premier Cape Town
Qualify 2 vs Free State ABSA CC Premier TBC
Natal vs Blue Bulls ABSA CC Premier Durban
SEC vs Lions ABSA CC Premier TBC
First C vs First A ABSA CC First Div
First D vs First G ABSA CC First Div
First E vs First F ABSA CC First Div
Western Province vs Leopards U21 + U19A Cape Town
Griquas vs Free State U21 + U19A Kimberley
Natal vs Blue Bulls U21 + U19A Durban
E.P. vs Border U21 + U19B Port Elizabeth
Griffons vs Falcons U21 + U19B Welkom
Boland vs Pumas U21 + U19B Wellington

22/23 Sep
Free State vs Natal ABSA CC Premier Bloemfontein
Qualify 1 vs Qualify 2 ABSA CC Premier TBC
Lions vs Western Province ABSA CC Premier Johannesburg
SEC vs Blue Bulls ABSA CC Premier TBC
First A vs First B ABSA CC First Div
First F vs First D ABSA CC First Div
First G vs First C ABSA CC First Div
Free State vs Natal U21 + U19A Bloemfontein
Leopards vs Griquas U21 + U19A Potchefstroom
Lions vs Western Province U21 + U19A Johannesburg
Border vs SWD U21 + U19B East London
Pumas vs Griffons U21 + U19B Witbank
Falcons vs E.P. U21 + U19B Brakpan

29/30 Sep
Blue Bulls vs Free State ABSA CC Premier Pretoria
Western Province vs SEC ABSA CC Premier Cape Town
Qualify 2 vs Lions ABSA CC Premier TBC
Natal vs Qualify 1 ABSA CC Premier Durban

Semi- Final ABSA CC First Div
Blue Bulls vs Free State U21 + U19A Pretoria
Natal vs Leopards U21 + U19A Durban
Griquas vs Lions U21 + U19A Kimberley

6/7 Oct
Semi- Final ABSA CC Premier
Final ABSA CC First Div
Final U21 + U19B


13/14 Oct
FINAL ABSA CC Premier
Final U21 + U19A

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