Quick and without time

With no time to write properly, these are some of the things that trouble rugby today as I see them:

  • Chris Masoe leaves for Castres: You cannot miss the Hurricanes fighting to avoid the last place alongside Lions and Cheetahs next year with no Collins and no Masoe.
  • Mortlock takes the Wallabies to victory: He fighted hard against Luke Burgess who was trying to help the Springboks get their first important win on the road this season.
  • Keo says the Springboks are favourites for the 3N: And Schalk Burger is favourite to be named Mr Universe, too.
  • McCaw targets playing at Sydney: He is desperate to be used as an excuse for the poor play the All Blacks will display in Australia.
  • de Villiers blamed the referee for SA loss: Indeed? You are not surely going to tell me the Wallabies are scrumming illegally, are you?

How many players can you name?

ELVs schism

According to Rugbyheaven, IRB and John O'Neill, the situation is (near to) dramatic. IRFU, WRU and a third union whose name I can't remember could provoke a(nother one) schism in rugby by not accepting any of the ELVs to be trialled within their competitions.

While these news have bothered me for a few days ever since it appeared p(osted)rinted inRugbyHeaven and I have much more hated the POMS phlegm since, it seems that common sense will prevail and you won't have three codes of rugby playing at least for the next years. WRU has released some tension by allowing 13 ELVs to be trialled.

That leaves Ireland and another country quite alone. In fact, it leaves the other country quite alone, as Ireland is but a puppet.

I hope they will come to terms, but a lot of harm is already done: some country still thinks they can rule things in rugby their way just because they are big and rich. More than ever it is needed that they lose every single game, every singe poll, every single fight, so they are forced to release some of the power they have gathered. If only a bit.

The game belongs to all.

Brave behaviour

Nicely done, kids.

Just when you are number 1 and number 2 in the world. Reigning World Champion and Reigning Tri Nations Champion. Just when you set the standard of world rugby for others to follow and no match is like a match between All Blacks and Springboks...

Then you start showing that astounding lack of manners.
"You Racist"
"You Puppet"
"You try to influence umpires!"

Guys, the world is looking at you... And it is not nice what you are showing. You seem 2 kids having arguments. Just think about it.

Air New Zealand Cup (NPC)

The Air New Zealand Cup pre-season matches start tomorrow, and by the time the season officially starts we'll already know who's able to win the 3N and who is not. What is certain is that there are a number of provinces who can consider themselves "cheated". What would you think if you were an Auckland supporter and realise that you will not get Evans or Nacewa to play for your team? I mean, they are not selected for the Internationals. Players playing for the All Blacks won't play the NPC and Canterbury fans well do know it but, what happens with people like the former two?

Let's forget those fair or unfair issues as the NPC is interesting in itself (same as the Currie Cup is). This year the team to beat should be Auckland as well. Despite losing Nacewa and not lining up Evans, and despite Hawke's Bay feeling confident with some Super 14 efforts by certain players like Latimer. The question is, who shall be fighting with the Aucklanders? What will Canterbury show? Can Wellington pose a threat to the reigning champions? Will this be the year of Waikato?

As usual, I have to choose my favourites and I don't really know where to start. I must support Auckland, if you forgive me, for I very much want Taniela Moa and Lachie Munro to play strong and be selected as Super 14 regular starters (by the man who will replace Nucifora who's no other than Pat Lam). I must also support Bay of Plenty and Waikato but, as happens to me with Blues and Hurricanes in the Super 14, don't ask me exactly why.

Let's see what the NPC unfolds and let's also wait for which All Blacks are released after the 3N. Some of them, like Mealamu, do always love playing big for their provincial teams.

The best game of the season

The All Blacks and the Springboks played today the best game of the season so far. The score pleased the kiwis 19 - 8 in a night whose crowned kings were the All Blacks forwards.

Both sides have reasons to be pleased, as they played a great great rugby, with the All Blacks playing their good old-fashioned attacking rugby and the Springboks playing their good old-fashioned deffending rugby.

Byron Kelleher celebrating the Top 14 title

The Dropkicks is a kiwi blog focused on sports. From it I have borrowed this unforgivable video featuring "monsieur Biron Quellegue" while celebrating the Top 14 title he achieved a few days ago with Stade Toulousain.

I absolutely recommend you to go read The Dropkicks. The author is currently doing live commentaries on the All Blacks matches and it is quite funny the way he sees them. Thanks to the author for his research.

It's even worse than this one!!!!!

(ok, no; it is not)

How do you like this team?

Montgomery, Ndungane, Fourie, Olivier, Habana, van der Westhuyzen, Januarie, du Randt, Smit, van der Linde, Matfield, Rossouw, van Niekerk, Smith, Spies.

Would you have betted on a 49-0 loss to Australia?

All Blacks vs Springboks

It's funny to see how many things change upon a man. Just two weeks ago, the All Blacks were the best team on earth (again). They had happily managed convincing wins with solid games against Ireland and England and were in everyone's lips favourites for the tri Nations. Meanwhile, the Boks had to struggle to defeat Wales and their fans were quite pessimistic.

Only a few days after, Richie McCaw's injury has left everyone in the kiwi-environment with a heavy anxiety feeling while the Bokke seem to be more confident than ever that they can stop their losing streak in New Zealand.

It must have something to do with their buoyant Schalk Burger having no McCaw in front of him.

Ok, here comes my warning to all those who see a Bok victory in New Zealand almost unavoidable:
  1. Do not overestimate the importance of the breakdown. It is really important. Really really important, but Henry and their men know it, and they will seek to cut-off the handicap of not having McCaw and the All Blacks are no newbies.
  2. It is by the ELVs that this game will be played and the ELVs say that the scrum can be more of a weapon, if one team has dominance over the other one.
  3. Likewise, line-outs are less important.
  4. Every All Black has played under the ELVs in the Super 14.
  5. Butch James, Montgomery, Matfield, Bakkies... have not. Three of them play from the start for the Springboks.
  6. In dead-even games, your crowd means a lot.

It is going to be a wonderful test. Both sides need to prove things. The Boks want so badly to achieve what they could not for four years under Jake White. The All Blacks want so badly to show they are the best side in the world despite their once-and-again disasters in the world cup.

Please, by no means miss out this game. Mark my words: there is going to be an after and a before, no matter of the outcome of the match.

Drinking and rugby

So, for the second time in less than two months, Cowan has been arrested as he was found guilty of D.U.I.

Meanwhile, Jerome Kaino has also been involved in such trouble.

What now? Should players be banned from playing the All Blacks if found guilty of such behaviour? Should they be allowed to play as these are off-the-field offenses?

Which, if any, relation have these issues with the english players missbehaviour last week?

It's all about the same: Is it acceptable that so-called sportsmen drive themselves these ways? But with an added consideration: What kind of things a sportsman can and can't do in his free time?

I think anything that involves violence would rule anyone out of my team. I think, however, that everyone deserves a second chance. Did Cowan do enough already to spoil his second chance? That I cannot say, honestly...