Monday, April 02, 2007

3N: Get out the brooms?

August 31, 2006

The All Blacks have already clinched the Tri-Nations competition. The only compelling intrigue that remains is whether they can make a clean six test sweep (3-0 against the Wallabies; 2-0 so far against the Boks). The Springboks will be playing for pride and an eye to next week (final test against Australia) and the World Cup next year. I suspect 'Bok coach Jake White will retain his job regardless of the results of the next two weekends. Knives are being sharpened, but that's part & parcel of being Springbok coach. Both sides have rung in multiple changes.

Ben Kimber and Greg Growden of the Sydney Morning Herald have their video preview up.

Rugby Planet is a little late with their usual preview; They pick NZ by 15 points.

South Africa: 15 Jaque Fourie, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 André Pretorius, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 AJ Venter, 7 Pierre Spies, 6 Pedrie Wannenburg, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Johann Muller, 3 BJ Botha, 2 John Smit (captain), 1 Os du Randt.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Lawrence Sephaka, 18 Albert van den Berg, 19 Jacques Cronjé, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Butch James, 22 Breyton Paulse.

New Zealand: 15 Doug Howlett, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Malili Muliaina, 12 Aaron Mauger, 11 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Rodney So’oialo, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Jerry Collins, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Chris Jack, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Anton Oliver, 17 Neemia Tialata, 18 Jason Eaton, 19 Marty Holah, 20 Byron Kelleher, 21 Luke McAlister, 22 Rico Gear.

Date: Saturday, September 2
Venue: Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 UTC / 09.00 ET)
Expected weather conditions: Clear with a high of 22°C, dropping to 7°C and a light wind - a perfect day for rugby.
Referee: Chris White
Touch judges: Alan Lewis (Ireland), Eric Darrière (France)
Television match official: Hugh Watkins (Wales)
Assessor: Michel Lamoulie (France)

John Drake writes, "Pity the Boks if this team clicks."

Don't forget to check the upper-right box for more links and previews.

Mediazone's Rugby Channel has live online coverage of the test for a small fee. (It's worth a free plug here mentioning Mediazone have a variety of purchasing options; the test matches can be purchased individually; by tournament; or a seasons-pass where you get everything they offer for a reasonable price.) The Springboks vs. All Blacks test Saturday, September 02, 2006 from Royal Bafokeng will kick-off at 9:00 am ET Saturday morning. Tape-delay downloads are available 2-4 after test match ends. Full details here.

Rugby Planet has a live score ticker and commentary. It's free.

  • The past couple weeks I've been posting links about the 25th anniversary of the infamous 1981 Springbok tour to New Zealand. (Here and here.) Here's another look back from a South African perspective.

  • 1981 Springbok tour horrors recalled

    Wynand Claasen recalls fearing a lynching when anti-apartheid protesters upturned a trailer and pounded on their dressing room window in Hamilton.

    Naas Botha remembers nearly being run over by a wild-eyed woman who swerved her car towards a group players out walking.

    Both insist it was the rugby tour of a lifetime but say the saddest part was seeing New Zealanders fighting each other in the streets. [...]

    For [Claasen, the captain], the tour held huge paradoxes. For any young South African rugby player raised in the grip of apartheid and sporting isolation, their dream was to tour New Zealand. It was the ultimate rugby experience, bar none.

    But Claasen was also more politically minded than most here -- he was staunchly anti-apartheid and remembers being labelled a "leftist Afrikaaner" -- and knew there would be big problems. He didn't quite know how big.

    "When we arrived in Gisborne and we saw the protesters and when they dropped glass and other things on the playing field, we realised it was going to be quite tough," he told NZPA.

    "We were totally unprepared and I don't think even the New Zealanders knew it would be that intense."

    The most fearful day for Claasen was in Hamilton when protesters tore down a wire fence, stormed on to Rugby Park and had the match cancelled.

    As police grappled with those on the field, others quickly zeroed in on the dressing sheds.

    "That whole debacle with the Waikato game, that really was quite frightening, very intense. We didn't know if the tour was going to carry on then the (police) red squad came in -- it was like war.

    "The scary part was in the changing room standing on a bench looking out the back window.

    "A whole bunch of demonstrators came out the back of the pavilion and overturned one of the those big trailers, we realised they wanted to come in and have a go at us.

    "There were a few policemen that held them out." [...]

    The only time Botha stared danger directly in the face was when the team went for a stroll near their hotel early in the tour.

    "The one day we were walking in the street and one girl tried to run us over. I believe the police did pick her up and got rid of her until the tour was over.

    "Otherwise I never felt in danger. We can bullshit and say 'I was so worried' but that's nonsense. The New Zealand police looked after us pretty well and we had nothing to worry about." [...]

    Source: New Zealand Herald

  • Lastly, has Rupeni Caucaunibuca -- the world's most exciting rugby player -- retired?

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