Monday, May 22, 2006

WWW as conduit for Rugby information

Lifted from Should be educational to all

'Web ready for next big leap'
20/05/2006 09:47 - (SA)

Amsterdam - The world wide web is on the cusp of making its next big leap to become an open environment for collaboration, and its inventor said he has not been so optimistic in years.

Still, Tim Berners-Lee, the Briton who invented and then gave away the world wide web, warns that internet crime and anti-competitive behaviour must be fought tooth and nail.

A lot of new technology is becoming available after many years to make the web smarter and easier to use, he said.

"My personal view is that a lot of it is coming together now. That is very gratifying to see... I'm very optimistic at this moment," Berners-Lee said in a telephone interview ahead of the annual world wide web conference, which opens in Edinburgh on Monday.

"The whole industrial environment is more exciting. We had the bubble and the burst, but now you see a low of young companies again. There's renewed enthusiasm among VCs (venture capitalists) to invest in start-ups. I get a feeling of upsurge in activity."

Roughly twice as much money is being invested in European internet start-ups than the figure two years ago, according to venture capitalist community Tornado-Insider.

"Four years ago, the patent problems were getting in the way. A lot of us were worried, because it looked like the whole thing could get bogged down," Berners-Lee said, referring to attempts by private companies to patent software needed on web sites and charge royalties for usage.

Thanks to the help of many, royalty-free licences are now available, said the man who never saw a cent of royalties for his invention, which set off an industry now generating hundreds of billions of euros (dollars) in revenues a year.

Realising a vision

Berners-Lee, while at the European Particle Physics Laboratory CERN in Geneva, designed key parts of the web to let scientists work together when in different parts of the world.

Currently the director of the world wide web Consortium (W3C), which is a US-headquartered forum of companies and organisations to improve the web, he is only now realising his early vision of a two-way web where people can easily work together on the same page and the content on a page can be recognised by computers.

Some early examples of websites that combine data from different sources include Google Maps, whose geographic maps turn up on other sites combined with services, and photo-sharing site Flickr, where members comment on each other's postings and developers can use the pictures to create new applications.

"Several years ago we said: 'What a shame that we can't go to that website and find all that stuff in there.' We had a loose roadmap five years ago. Steadily we've been making progress," said Berners-Lee, adding that most of the work had been done.

"Of course there are people who say: 'Why didn't Tim do that from the start?' But it's more complicated," he said.

Elements are already filtering through, such as Web sites that do not have to be refreshed entirely when only parts are being updated.

A new query language, SPARQL (pronounced "Sparkle"), is designed to make web pages easier for machines to read, allowing all sorts of different data to be put to work on the web.

"SPARQL will make a huge difference," Berners-Lee said.

"You can see so many ways the web is taking off in so many different directions," he said.

Another Angle on 10

I lifted this from

Seems like good topic for discussion

I have to say this in the defence of SA flyhalfs:

Have a look at every single attacking SA backline for the past 10 od weeks. They all have one thing in coomon.

NO OPTIONS FOR THE FLYHALVE!!!! How the hell can any flyhalf create anything if his backline all lies flat in a line next to him when he gets the ball?????

You have a whopping 3 options. 1 = crash it up, 2 = kick, 3 = sell the player next to you.

1) No one runs flat
2) No one runs deep
3) No one switches
4) No one drifts
5) No runs on the inside

My observation when Carter, Larkam, or most NZ and AUs flyhalves for that matter gets the ball is that all 5 options as mentioned is available at the same time. This excludes the kicking and running options.

Comment by Brickwall : May 22, 2006 @ 8:48 am

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Visionary sport by Dr Sherylle Calder

I lifted this from Some of the statements are dated

Just read the context then.

Ninety percent of decisions made in team sports are based on visual information. A ‘good eye’ is therefore important for motor skills like catching a ball or contacting a ball with a bat, but it also contributes to the rapid succession of decisions that comprise tactical elements such as player movement and shot selection.

Visual eye specialist, Dr Sherylle Calder, believes that many international sport teams don’t play to their full potential, simply because their visual systems aren't fit. But visual abilities can be trained. Every person has six muscles in each eye that can be trained to improve speed, movement and flexibility. The process in the brain can also be speeded up, so hand-eye co-ordination is enhanced, and because players ‘see’ more, each can assess the situation so much quicker and thus exercise their options.

Go to Eye Gym with the Boks and see how Dr Sherylle Calder’s development and improvement of our national rugby team’s peripheral vision, variable depth vision, depth perception, dynamic visual acuity, visual concentration, eye tracking, visual memory, visual reaction time, focus flexibility, depth perception, and scanning skills, has made her an asset to the squad.

Dr Sherylle Calder is a pioneer in visual awareness and is currently contracted to SA Rugby to help our boys catch and pass the ball. She was educated at the University of the Free State and the University of Cape Town where her doctorate thesis and subsequent studies focused on the visual concepts of elite sport (did we mention she earned 50 caps as a Springbok hockey player?), especially the role that visual skills using specific training programmes had in measuring improved on field performance. Sherylle also worked for the Acuvue Sports Vision Centre, Sports Science Institute of South Africa in Cape Town.

Sherylle has worked with the English rugby and Australian cricket teams victorious in the respective 2003 World Cups, and she made “visionaries” of the English cricket team that demolished Australia in the latest Ashes series. The good doctor has also worked with the All Blacks, the Italian team for the prestigious America’s Cup, and the South African cricket team. Rumour has it she is also wanted by the who’s who of golf, hockey, motor-racing, soccer, and squash.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Well, for some people in South Africa the Springboks are everything, in all honesty for most Rugby Union Supporters in this Country they are excactly that.

But where do these players come from.... they obviously had not been teleported from some different galaxy- if they were Richy McCaw and Dan Carter would not have created such a big splash in the S14 2006- so far- Go Bulls Go

Its common logic that they had progressed succesfully from their local club scene and were as successful at provincial level.

Now the Big Q is - is our Club Scene a healthy Conveyor belt?

Pls join the discussion

I have "lifted" some of these opinions from Ruggaworld- to get the topic started.

A few year ago I wrote this Article for Keo. Do you agree with it ?

Club rugby is close to everyone’s heart. Renier Botha is outraged about the situation and as Keo’s debut Muppet columnist he gets to express his anger on the home page. Renier also paid a handsome contribution fee for this honour.

Club rugby at the moment is in a shambles. It used to be the feeding system for the provincial teams. Now it is something that gets very little support. On Saturdays there are very few people that come to clubs to watch games. Mostly friends, parents and wife’s\girlfriends come to watch games. Why?
One of the problems is that the “BIG” names don’t play club rugby anymore. The only time that club rugby in the Western Cape got any newspaper coverage besides the results is when there is thuggery or when Bob Skinstad played for UCT against DurBell (Durbanville\Bellville) and managed to break his arm. Except for that there were minimal articles on clubs.
Another reason is that most rugby around the world is televised now. When before you could maybe watch Western Province vs.. Northern Transvaal on a Saturday afternoon if it was televised, now you have a choice of 4 channels and you can watch delayed broadcasts. Where a few years ago the 6 Nations (Okay then 5 Nations) were something that happened in the Northern hemisphere and we read the results without much interest in the paper, it now is something that gets newspaper coverage and get hotly debated on Websites such as this one. People would rather sit at home and watch a game than go to a club field and watch rugby.
Another problem would be the Vodacom Cup. It robs clubs of high quality players that would raise the standard of the games played. The Vodacom Cup games are not very well attended and not well supported by the public and it takes away a lot of money that could have been spent on Club rugby due to players salaries, travel allowances and the cost of say the Pumas playing Western Province where the squad and the coach and support structure must be transferred from Johannesburg to Cape Town.
Another problem in club rugby is the lack of exposure that the players get because of the drafting of players from other regions. Players from clubs know they won’t be called up if there is an injury in a provincial team. A fringe player from another province will be drafted in to fill the gap. Players get identified at Craven week and at school and they get stuck to. It is very difficult for a player to crack a provincial side without playing Craven Week. A lot of players from small areas only get quality coaching when they move to a city to go study. Juan Smith and Henry Honniball both didn’t play Craven week but they made the National side after they got good coaching and got the opportunities to be seen. I would say that it is critical that players with potential from the club scene gets identified and then get the opportunity to attend coaching clinics and receive good coaching by Provincial coaches or someone in the know. They might not all become Springboks or even make the Provincial side but the things they learn there will filter trough to the other players at their club and it might help someone with talent to take the step up. This will also raise the quality of rugby all over the country.
Another problem that I have personal experience with is thugery. Especially in the Western Cape. Over the last few years there were quite a few incidents that were quite nasty. These are the memorable ones from last year.
1.) A player got bitten on the ear and had to receive 7 stitches.
2.) A clubhouse in the Cape Town got attacked by supporters of the visiting team. Windows were thrown out etc.
3.) After a club game that was marred by dirty play from the home side the visiting team was attacked by the home team after the final whistle was blown. The supporters joined in and players and visiting supporters were thrown with bricks and threatened with a gun and knives.
4.) The same home team that was involved in the above incident was also involved in an incident a few weeks later in which the police had to be called in to defuse the situation.
5.) Various articles appeared in Cape Town papers about referees that was assaulted and threatened.
I can go on and on about this but to keep this short so I’ll only name these few. Not a lot was done by the Western Province rugby Union to the clubs that were the perpetrators in these incidents. A few hundred rands in fines were issued and some league points were deducted and a player was suspended for 2 years. There was no decisive action taken to show clubs that this kind of behavior would not be tolerated.
A whole lot of quality players gave up the game because of this. They felt that although they love rugby it was not worth risking their lives for. Sooner or later someone is going to get seriously hurt or maybe killed and then it will be too late.
What solutions are there?
For one I would propose that the Vodacom Cup be scrapped and these players must play club rugby. This will mean that the level of the game would immediately be raised and that more people out of the community will come to theses games to see some big names play rugby. This will also mean that more money will be available to pump into club rugby. This will mean that training facilities will be better and that club facilitates can be upgraded. There are a few clubs in Western Province that don’t have dressing rooms or showers.
Another option would be to give more TV and media coverage to club rugby. Instead of televising schoolboy games, good quality club rugby could be shown locally. For instance in the Western Cape games between UCT, Maties (Stellenbosch), NTK, Villagers and Tygerberg would make for very interesting viewing. Also in the newspapers perhaps half a page could be spent on write-ups of all the games in the league instead of just the results.
Another way to go could be for clubs to give themselves more advertising. For instance a website with all the clubs details and fixtures would be a start. Also putting up posters in the area to let people know that there will be a game on the Saturday and against whom. Getting the community to embrace the team and see it as their own. This is very noticeable in black and colored communities. There are quite a few supporters at some local derbies but the idea is to get them to the fields every Saturday.
Also stamp out thugery. People won’t go watch\play rugby if they don’t feel safe. Time to crack down on a few bad apples that is giving the game a bad rep.
Our rugby will be healthier when we have a well organized, high quality club scene. It will also get more people involved in the game and will mean more interest in rugby all over the country. It will only be better for all involved.




I was reading through this thread as an interested outsider until I came across Aldo’s comment: “Why are the Os teams skills better? Maybe cos they only have test and S14 rugby?” I almost choked on my medicinal glass of red.

The most distinctive feature of Australian rugby historically has been the importance of the Sydney and Brisbane club competitions. That has always been the level where players’ skills are developed.

A little over a year ago, Eddie Jones spoke to my club’s coaches. I was invited along as a token grey-beard. He made the point that with the Wallabies squad he had to take the players’ skills level as a given. Presumably he was referring not just to the limited time that he had to work with the players but also to the near-impossibility of reprogramming their behaviour patterns and reactions. My observation of Australian Super 14 squads is that they are equally inappropriate vehicles for enhancing player skills. The bottom half of their squads seem to be glorified tackle bag holders who don’t play much rugby at all and almost none in meaningful competition. By contrast the Sydney club competition, for example, offers players the opportunity to develop through the various levels of Colts and senior grades in high standard contests between traditional foes with fierce tribal loyalties. Interestingly, in view of some of the comments above, there is now very little foul play.

I notice that some of your posters such as Methos and Pissant Bly ‘n Bul - I won’t even ask - also stress the importance of club rugby.

The real problem in South Africa, I suggest, is not the Super 14 in itself but rather the fact that you are now operating a four-tier system - three levels of professional rugby - which I doubt is financially sustainable - superimposed on and crushing the nursery or club level. We in Australia look set to make the same mistake. What was mooted as a national club competition now looks set to comprise synthetic entities in Sydney and Brisbane created by seat-warming bureaucrats.

We are told that no existing club will be allowed to take part in its own right. So Randwick drops back to fourth-tier as does my club, Sydney University, which has seven current Wallabies and has developed around 25 players who are presently contracted professionally with Super 14, NPC or British clubs.

In more than one country it would appear that the clowns are running the circus.



One thing I agree on

Getting the Club Scene right is the thing to do in SA Rugby

Here I support Donner’s call

Start at Home!!

Oranje Orakel



I think you got me wrong. I didn’t mean that you guys, don’t have a clubscene. I meant that, you guys have only one proffessional comp. Am I right in saying this, or are your clubs Pro as well? I don’t know, but from where I sit, it doesn’t seem that way. You can succeed, cos you’re running it properly.

Our problem, is like you say, not the S14, but too many pro teams, relying on the clubs. Which is why I say, we’re trying to bring amateur values, into a proffessional era. We think we can keep the status quo, and the only change needed, is that we now pay the players.

I believe the VC should be scrapped. There PA, and I agree. I also believe that we should have a stronger club comp, with more interest. There we agree again. But this is where we stop agreeing. I do not believe, we should stop playing S14. I believe, we should have three comps. The CC, a strong club competition, replacing the VC, and then the S14.

I also agree, that the Tri Nations, should only be played every second year, as I know that most of us, are tired of it. Rather replace the Tri Nations every year, with a tour of either Aus, NZ, and the PI’s. That is what I find a workable solution. I don’t believe that we need to stop playing S14, to bring back the interest in clubgames.




Don’t ask, let me just say I am never making any bets again where my team is involved.

I think you hit the nail right on the head and it basically summs up everything I tried to say, just much better.

My point is, run rugby professional on 1, maybe two tiers.

This in my view should be Super rugby and our local Currie Cup.

Scrap the VC as a professional competition and start a semi-professional club champioship.

The costs involved with the VC (Vodacom Cup) would in my view more than cater/pay for a national club competition.

Traveling would be less, players salaries would be less, accommodation etc would be less.

If a player either falls out of favour or in my suggestion on how the competitions in SA should work, not be in the team or one of the teams competing in the Super comp, he goes to his club where the development of youngster will be fast-tracked simply due to the level of players and games you will now have.

Imagine a Marius Joubert running out for UCT against Tukkies or something. Not only can this help the player regain his form, but imagine how much he can pass on to his very young and inexperienced team-mates.

The level of this comp would immediately rise imo.

The traditional unions will also have such a wide base of players now being exposed to top flight rugby to contract, in which these players then become professional playing in the Currie Cup first or second divisions.

We will get more players at a level where they can compete with the best and thus expand our raw rich talent base which effectively will strengthen our Super and Bok rugby.


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