Crusaders are 2008 Champions

And Robbie Deans heads to Australia with the end he deserves. Crusaders players were uttering:
"Robbie, Robbie, Robbie: oi, oi, oi!!!!"
which is a certainly funny thing to wish him good luck in the future.
Congratulations, Crusaders. And Farewell, Deans!

My Super 15

15 Conrad Jantjes. What is this new Perpignan kid on the block doing here?
14 Anthony Tuitavake. He deserves a chance with the All Blacks.
13 (left blank)
12 Ma'a Nonu. At last, he's doing his business.
11 Bryan Habana. No words.
10 Nick Evans. I know you won't understand, but I would always put him here.
9 Brendon Leonard. He's my 9.
8 Ryan Kankowski. Everybody knows my liebling player is So'oialo, but here I must concede.
7 Schalk Burger. Just look at the Stormers with and without him.
6 Jerry Collins.
5 Andries Bekker. It's hard to choose between him and Vickerman, so I pick both.
4 Dan Vickerman.
3 John Afoa. No other.
2 Keven Mealamu. The best. He also scores tries.
1 Tony Woodcock. No less than him.

What would be yours?

PS: This is my last post before Super 14 Final. So, for the first time this season I will say: Forth Crusaders!

FIFA rules 6 + 5

I would have never paid attention to such news as this. I mean, I live in Spain, football is something you can't hide of no matter how hard you try. So maybe my blog would be the only place where I could get rid of football.

But according to an unmatchable rugby knight, this can easily be one of the things that could set the pace for other sports, rugby included (nattürlich!!!).

It happens that the FIFA has ruled that club football will have to be played with a minimum of 6 national players at any time. I know I should now make a joke about Athletic Club de Bilbao and their players selection policy and pride, but what the f., I don't care. According to this rugby knight (I can imagine him telling me right now) this rule could be inherited by the RFU and IRB and that would definately mean something for the continuously trans-equator leak of southern hemisphere players.

Of course, Brussels may have a word. Bosman case was not so long ago and I am not sure this can be so easily agreed and done, at least, in European Union.

Super 14 tries

The season is over and only the name of the 2008 champion remains unknown.

This is a nice collection of some tries scored this season.

Players ain't guilty

If anyone has any doubts about the real reasons for people like Evans and Collins not to have been selected for the All Blacks squad this year, go and see Henry talking and the players answering.

They have been left out because they are seen as traitors.

It is funny that so many players during last RWC (Chris Jack, Luke McAlister, Doug Howlett, Aaron Mauger, Byron Kelleher, Carl Hayman...) were nowhere near of being treated the unpolite way that Collins and Evans have been treated and it is also funny to see that the "beautiful girl" Dan Carter has not been treated this way (maybe the decission of not unfolding his close future yet was even suggested by the NZRU to let Henry select him for the All Blacks)

So, Evans is a traitor and deserves no All Black jersey and so it seems happens with Collins. This message of strength that the All Black selectors are sending... is this the right way to proceed? I mean, are the players guilty of trying to make the most of their time-limited career? Is it greed or common-sense or a player like Evans heading to England?

I am the first one that hates seeing the best kiwi players playing for english clubs. I damn hate it. I hate it more than anything. But.. Is Henry right when he puts on the brave face and rules these "traitors"? Who's responsible for New Zealand rugby not offering competitive salaries? Are the players responsible?

I can remember Robbie Deans advising Carter to do what is best for him... Who would not? When you truly appreciate someone you want this someone to do what is best for him... But it seems NZRU wants players to stay despite the players' own ideas of what is best for them.

I am going to miss Nick Evans more than most will. But I understand him and maybe it is now or never.

So sorry, Henry and NZRU, but players ain't guilty. should not make these mistakes II (!)

Yesterday I was astonished that the team made such mistakes as this one.

One day after, this has been published by this website in their article about big names not making the All Blacks. Aparently greatest of them all is that of Piri Weepu.

Yeah, you are right; according to this is supposed to be no other than Piri Weepu. Yes, I repeat, Piri Weepu.

2 mistakes in 2 days and both were related to southern hemisphere rugby. It must surely be the high quality rugby played northwards... Yeah, it must be so.

Oh, no!!!

Graham Henry, from this blog I have ever been supportive of you as an All Blacks coach and I was the first to say you deserved to stay even when your own words were to judge you based on the RWC performance.

But I must say that I would have never expected you to say, just one day after Jerry Collins announced that he was to break his NZRU contract, that he would not have made the All Blacks in any case.

Mr. Henry: I think it does no good to anyone. Not that people could not see that JC was a bit out of form, but still he was our clear first option at blindside. And, if it was not yours, it does no good at all to say it just one day after JC spoke. It is good that people like Kaino or Read have a chance. They do deserve it. But, does JC deserve you saying this? Are you at war on him or anything? It is, in the best of the possible situations, a very nasty thing to say.

I have always supported you, Mr. Henry, but I feel it is fair to say that this was an ugly thing to do. should not make these mistakes

Just read at that Doug Howlett won titles at the Super 14 with the Crusaders.

Does that mean that any fool can be a reporter for How long does it take to go to the Wikipedia (for example) and take a look to find the truth if you are not sure?

People from, Doug Howlett did play for the Blues and only for the Blues at the Super 14.

NZ win Sevens Series

They were unable to get the title in London, as they lost their quarter final game against England by 12 - 17 but they did win the remaining three games to get the Plate including the final Plate game against South Africa and sealed the Sevens series with only the Scotland fixture to go.

A number of surprises have occurred, such as Portugal emerging as a Sevens power, even defeating an Australian side full of Super 14 players (!!!) and performing well enough to lose 28 - 14 against New Zealand. Or both South Africa and New Zealand losing in the quarter finals...

Samoa went on to defeat Fiji in the final and got their first leg this year. Congratulations to the winners!

And congratulations to the Sevens Series winners!

Tautahi Gold are 2008 champions at the Pacific Rugby Cup

Tautahi Gold defeated Upolu Samoa at Apia 3 - 11 in the final of the Pacific Rugby Cup and are the 2008 champions.

Congratulations to the tongan side!!!

Super 14 final: Crusaders - Waratahs

The Crusaders and the Waratahs have shown just what the regular season suggested, that they are the best teams as both teams have made the final with certain ease.

It is going to be a very special game for Robbie Deans, who will try to leave the Crusaders with a last win, at home, in Christchurch.

Crusaders 33 - Hurricanes 22
Waratahs 28 - Sharks 13

Pacific Rugby Cup

Ever heard of the Pacific Rugby Cup?

It may not be as famous as the Super 14 or the Premiership, but it includes 6 teams that could surely kick the ass of more than just one european club. It is a competition ruled by the Pacific Rugby Union.

  • 2 teams from Samoa: Upolu Samoa and Savai Samoa
  • 2 teams from Fiji: Fiji Warriors and Fiji Barbarians
  • 2 teams from Tonga: Tau'uta Reds and Tautahi Gold

It is a relatively young competition, a single round robin competition with the best two teams facing each other in a final game.

2006 saw the Savai Samoa crown champions while in 2007 Upolu Samoa defeated Tau'uta Reds to win the second edition of the Pacific Rugby Cup.

This year, Upolu Samoa have also reached the final but their rivals will be Tautahi Gold, and the final game is played in Apia within a few hours!

Peter de Villiers is just what South Africa needs

Read this if you thought otherwise.

the "other" semifinal

My blood boils when I read the predictions at . If you read the predictions, only one out of ten has given the Waratahs as winners. Why? I read the poll in the website about what will be the final and
  • around 40% believe it is going to be Sharks. Crusaders
  • aorund 40% believe otherwise, it is going to be Sharks vs Hurricanes

I mean, what the f....

The you come down to reasonings, like Steve Farrell tries to do and... oh! surprise!!! his prediction is that the Sharks will win by five!!!

Ok, I am no Waratahs supporter, but ademittedly, few teams have shown the consistency that the 'tahs have shown during this season. Not the Sharks, for sure. I feel that I must give some realistic data over the Waratahs chances to go to the semifinal.

  1. Since 1996, only 4 times out of 24 (17%) a Super Rugby semifinal game has been won by an "away" team.
  2. From 2003 on, no team has won an "away" Super Rugby semifinal.
  3. In 2008 the both Waratahs and Sharks have won every single game at home, but only 3 out of 7 games played away.
  4. Their game in Sydney earlier this year resulted in Sharks second loss of the season by 25-10
  5. The Sharks have managed to win just three times (out of ten games) against the Waratahs.

I think this semifinal will be very very very close. Both teams are excellent at defending but I think the Waratahs have a better attack. I don't expect a clear winner but in the end, the home soil can be a decissive factor.

Of course, the Sharks have their own chances but what I think is nonsense is this absolute certainty of certain media in the Sharks triumph.

McAlister could come back to New Zealand

All Black Luke McAlister could come back as early as next year if we are to trust the information that The NZ Herald publishes.

It would be good news surely for the Blues, as two all-star midfielders called Evans and Nacewa will leave creating a big hole in the Blues line-up.

McAlister also says that England will struggle against the pace of the All Blacks. But that is hardly a news, just like saying that a stone will fall off a building with an acceleration almost equal to 10 meters per square second.

Graham Henry speaks

Apparently, the level of the 2008 Super 14 has not been good enough for Graham Henry for much of the past 4 months, as he has publicly stated that it is a luck that the level has been raised during the last weeks.

What now? Is Super 14 not enough for the All Blacks? Or could it be that it is a bit difficult to adapt to the new ELVs?.

What are then, northern hemisphere teams going to face if it is needed at least 2 to 3 months to get used and reach the test level that Henry wants? What is going to happen in the test games in november?

The Sharks make the semifinals

Low-scoring Sharks managed to dish 7 tries against the Chiefs and gathered a 47 - 25 win that pushes them ahead the Stormers and the Hurricanes for the third place in the 2008 Super 14 semifinals.

Thus, the semifinals will be Crusaders - Hurricanes and Waratahs - Sharks.

Stormers win in the final 5 minutes

The Stormers seemed unable to defeat the Lions for much of the second half at Johannesburg, but two late tries in the crazy dying momments of the match (3 tries have been scored in 5 minutes) awarded the Stormers the win and are in the fight for the semifinals. However, the came one try short of the crucial bonus point, which would have classified them directly for the semifinals.

The Hurricanes are thus, classified, and the Blues are out of the top 4.

Lions 13 - Stormers 22

Waratahs to the semifinals

The Waratahs have defeated the Reds at Brisbane and haved booked a place for the semifinals. Blues and Hurricanes have to wait.

Reds 11 - Waratahs 18

Blues top Hurricanes

In a extremely tense match, the Hurricanes were defeated by the Blues in Auckland. Thus, now they both have chances to make the semifinals but they also need the Stormers or the Sharks or the Waratahs not to win in their own final matches.

Blues 19 - Hurricanes 17

Final word: Super 14 week 14

As I said, it was such a close call, such a close call...

This is my last prediction for the semifinals spots as displayed by a wonderful website:

I remember I first predicted Crusaders, Sharks, Hurricanes and Blues.
Two weeks ago I said Crusaders, Waratahs, Hurricanes and Chiefs.
And with one day to go I say: Crusaders, Waratahs, Hurricanes and Stormers.

What will be the end of the road?

ELVs at the Tri Nations

Robbie Deans wants the ELVs played during the Tri Nations.
Wayne Smith says NZ wants them too.

Does it mean we will have an ELV Tri-Nations?

What does South Africa think?

Waratahs and Stormers draw

And are both still in the fight for the semifinals.

Stormers 13 - Waratahs 13

Chiefs spoil it against the Lions

The Chiefs have lost against the Lions in what is the greatest surprise of the week so far.

They are out of the semifinals and no one but them is to be blamed.

Lions 33 - Chiefs 27

Sharks bonus-point win in the last minute

The Sharks managed to get 5 points out of their match against the Cheetahs with two tries in the last minutes.

Sharks 33 - Cheetahs 14

Blues late charge

Tuitavake and an incredible Nick Evans spearheaded the late charge of the Blues in the game at Dunedin.

Both in the game and in this 2008 season the Blues took and early lead just to fall victim of some slumb. They did however end on a high, which was enough to secure them 5 points but... will it be enough to make the semifinals.

Highlanders 15 - Blues 40

Hurricanes win

In slippery conditions at Wellington and despite a ferocious defense by the West Force, the Hurricanes managed to win and have moved a step forward to the semifinals.

Hurricanes 21 - West Force 10

New Zealand: 100 years coming to an end

Whoever doubts that New Zealand has been the dominant power in the world of rugby for the last 100 years, either he believes rugby is played with 13 men or is a Springbok.

In fact, only the strongest South Africa has been able to stop the All Black machine of rugby, being the Springboks/All Blacks tours the most intense that this game has witnessed.

Please, do forget the Northern Hemisphere.

But it happens everywhere. Ford was the everything in the world of automakers until the decade of the thirties, where so many changes in the industry saw a new giant best prepared to become the world leader (no other than GM, who, 70 years later, was also banquished when it was not strong enough to compete). Take Microsoft, the world leader was innovative but at the end died of success when a new kid on the block, Google, was healthier and ready to face the changes the industry needed.

Now come back to New Zealand. New Zealand have got the strongest rugby culture in the world. Their love for rugby is immense, and their have been the world power while rugby has been an amatheur issue, and also during the first and a half decade of professionalism, when the NZRU has been able to retain kiwi players at home.

The idea was that rugby in New Zealand was a home issue, and the best players of this secret world were shown abroad during tests and no one could match them.

Now players are not playing at home anymore: McAlister, Howlett, Jack, Hayman, Mauger, Rush, Marshall, Gear, Kelleher... are already gone. Evans, Flavell, Nacewa will. Collins, Carter, Tu'uiali most likely.

And NZRU cannot keep them at home any longer. Rugby has changed. Definately and forever. Provincial championships will no longer sustain the game. Privatised franchises will have to arise and the game become a business like business is football or basketball. Who shall rule then? When the Internet appeared, no one was greater than Microsoft and, even so, they fell to Google. Why? Because they were not flexible enough to adapt. With size often comes resilience to change. And the surname of adaptation is change.

Will New Zealand be adaptable enough to face the changes after 100 years of being the best?

He's gone

He's packed and he leaves for three years. To play with the Quins. He's better than they deserve.

The problem arises when you read that his contract is for three years. What will happen at the RWC 2011? By that time, he'll already be 34, and many things will have changed (I'm sure). Perhaps the NZRU will have agreed to let the players abroad play with the All Black jersey by that time.

Perhaps the RWC will not be it all in the rugby world.


ELVs become global

With due apologies to my friend Monsieur Rugbycan, IRB is not exactly the same as the RFU. I don't think that, were it so, the IRB would have decided to introduce the ELVs everywhere as they have as neither WRU and RFU are fond of this idea.

It seems that now it is official, and that everyone shall play under these laws from August 1, so my question would be:

Shall the Tri Nations be played under the new rules? I think it's the only thing that would make sense.

Does that not give Robbie Deans certain edge over Graham Henry and Pieter de Villiers? Well, I don't consider these two to be any fools so I think the fact that Deans has already faced them for 10 games (up to 15 before they meet) can be a factor.

I am just glad that the ELVs are exported northwards, as south has still a thing or two to teach the north, not only players to lend-lease.


Many a fan will miss Nucifora as the aussie coach heads back to 'Stralya after this super 14 season is over. (many however, won't at all)

Apparently he will be involved with the ARU and the Wallabies although the actual level of involvement has not been disclosed yet.

What now? Who will take care of a promising but needed of new ideas Blues side?