"All things Rugby"

NZ Preview:#Glasgow2014Sevens

Commonwealth Games 2014

Commonwealth Games 2014


New Zealand matches:  26 July, 2014

v Canada 10:32am local (9:32pm NZT)
v Scotland 13:56am local (Sunday 27 July 12:56am NZT)
v Barbados 20:20pm local (Sunday 27 July 07:20am NZT)

Getty Images

It is quite fitting that the Commonwealth Games is being staged in Scotland in 2014 just two years out from Sevens making its grand debut at the Summer Olympics, after all, it was here in the Borders to the South that the game began.

History suggests that a butcher from Melrose suggested that a shortened version of the game be played to raise money at a local fair, with Ned Haig credited with leading his team to defeat Gala to win the first unofficial Sevens competition in 1883.

The story that Sevens started because the forwards decided one day they didn’t want to play is more of an urban myth.

While the small Borders town has other interests for historians as it is fabled to be the birth place of the legendary King Arthur, the importance of the region is celebrated with the Rugby Sevens World Cup named after Melrose.

However this weekend roughly one and a half hours drive to the North West, all eyes will be on Ibrox Stadium.

The iconic ground, usually the home of football side Rangers, will see 45 games played out with the ultimate prize a small shiny medal which New Zealand has not relinquished since it was introduced in 1998 to the 16th Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

Since then Sir Gordon Tietjens has guided his troops to four consecutive Gold Medals and 25 straight victories at the Games while scoring an incredible 971 points over this time.

However so much has changed since then, even since the 2010 Commonwealth Games, both for the title holders and the rest of the world.

The competition in Delhi was held less than a year after the grand news that Sevens had been accepted into the Summer Olympics, and since then the landscape has developed considerably.

One merely needs to take a look at the hosts, grouped in the same pool as New Zealand.

Two months ago the Scottish achieved their best ever IRB Sevens tournament result, finishing fourth in Glasgow, and head coach Stephen Gemmell has selected a squad containing 88-Test veteran Sean Lamont and British and Irish Loin Stuart Hogg – perhaps the strongest Scottish Sevens team ever assembled.

The buttressing of Sevens squad for such events is nothing new, Australia has Reds Investec Super Rugby flanker Liam Gill while there has been plenty of talk over the release of Bryan Habana from Toulon so the Springboks wing can feature for the Blitzbokke.

Meanwhile Tietjens, who has had the likes of Jonah Lomu and Christian Cullen at his disposal before, will not rely on a galaxy of All Blacks.

This year only Blues back Pita Ahki is a Investec Super Rugby regular in the squad.

However this will not faze New Zealand, who know that enlisting high profile names is no guarantee for success, a strong core of Sevens veterans led by current Gold medallists DJ Forbes, Sherwin Stowers and Tim Mikkelson are more valuable than any player from the 15s version of the game.

Add to this the likes of now senior members of the team like playmaker Gillies Kaka, strike forward Ben Lam and emerging youngster Akira Ioane – and the defending champions have a rounded squad that showcases the growing depth of the abbreviated code in New Zealand.

While many of the European sides have played in grand prix style competitions for preparation, Tietjen’s men were based in Amsterdam where they played against local teams for a more low key build up to the event.

New Zealand were well aware of the challenge ahead of them with the advancement of many Sevens nations, but the squad will back their trademark dependability – during the 2013/2014 circuit the team featured in seven of the nine Cup Finals.

“To win, it’s all about consistency,” Tietjens said.Commonwealth Games Logo

“It’s being accurate when you need to be, strong defense and dominating possession. If we can play consistently well, and having a strong bench will help, then that plays a big hand in being successful.”

How tactics pan out will be interesting as well, with the weather expected to be typically ambivalent, if the wet strikes, one suspects that New Zealand will have a slight advantage with their comfort in playing such football.

While that would set the stage for a potential Haka in the rain.

All sides have strengthened their groups with experience which will be crucial, but if the favourites can play their high tempo precision defensive game that has been on display over the last 12 months they will be confident.

Unbeaten and with four straight Gold Medals, the biggest threat will be the mantle of expectancy that comes with those black jerseys.

“Yes, there is lot of pressure and expectation on us going into this tournament, but the boys don’t really think about it too much,” said Ahki.

“Gold is what we’re aiming for and we know the steps we have to take to get it. There are some big rugby nations playing at this tournament but it will be down to who shows up on the day.”

The sixteen teams who will strive for the coveted Gold medal in front of packed audiences at Ibrox Stadium are Australia, Canada, Cook Islands, England, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, Barbados, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda and Wales.

The reigning champions have been drawn in Pool A alongside Canada, Barbados and Scotland.

Glasgow 2014 rugby sevens pools: 

• Pool A – New Zealand, Canada, Scotland, Barbados
• Pool B – South Africa, Kenya, Cook Islands, Trinidad and Tobago
• Pool C – Samoa, Wales, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia
• Pool D – England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Uganda

The team is:10502011_681050188631316_444696509239812442_n

Pita Ahki (North Harbour)
Scott Curry (Manawatu)
Sam Dickson (Canterbury)
DJ Forbes, captain (Counties Manukau)
Bryce Heem (Tasman)
Akira Ioane (Auckland)
Gillies Kaka (Hawke’s Bay)
Ben Lam (Auckland)
Tim Mikkelson (Waikato)
Declan O’Donnell (Waikato)
Sherwin Stowers (Counties Manukau)
Joe Webber (Waikato)

New Zealand matches:

26 July, 2014

v Canada 10:32am local (9:32pm NZT)
v Scotland 13:56am local (Sunday 27 July 12:56am NZT)
v Barbados 20:20pm local (Sunday 27 July 07:20am NZT)

Story Source :



July 26, 2014 Posted by | Barbados, Canada, Commonwealth Games 7s, New Zealand, Sevens | , | Leave a comment

All Blacks seal important signatures for post-World Cup

beaudanbarretFirst Five Beauden Barrett and scrumhalves Aaron Smith and TJ Perenara are the latest All Blacks to commit to New Zealand rugby until after next year’s World Cup, New Zealand Rugby Union said on Saturday.

Smith, who has cemented himself as the All Blacks’ first-choice scrumhalf since his 2012 debut, Perenara, who made his test debut this year, and Barrett have all signed through until the end of 2016, the NZRU said in a statement.

Experienced prop Tony Woodcock, who has 110 caps for the All Blacks, has also been signed through until after the global showpiece in England next year.

Tighthead prop Charlie Faumuina and utility back Tom Taylor have also signed through until 2015.

“It’s great news for the All Blacks and New Zealand rugby, especially with a large number of talented, young players re-committing to the country,” All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said in the statement. “It bodes well for the future.”

Prop Jeff Toomaga-Allen, lock Dominic Bird and loose forward Matt Todd, all of whom have won test caps in the last two years but remain on the periphery of the squad, have also signed through until 2016.





July 26, 2014 Posted by | New Zealand, Players | Leave a comment

Chloe Butler says Lingerie Football helped get her to women’s Rugby World Cup


Chloe Butler in her Wallaroos kit.

Chloe Butler in her Wallaroos kit.

IT’S far from the conventional route, but Chloe Butler had to lose her kit to wear a new one.

Butler in her LFL kit.

Butler in her LFL kit.

The former pin-up girl of the Lingerie Football League is part of Australia’s Wallaroos squad heading to France on Sunday to compete in the IRB Rugby World Cup.

And she insists it was lingerie football that got her here.

The concept of women playing a full-contact sport in lingerie may not appeal to everyone, but Butler says it provides a platform for female athletes when other avenues have closed.

“It’s not for everyone and if you’re lucky enough to have an avenue in your chosen sport that allows you to stay professional, or stay elite, then I definitely back that, but the LFL is a different avenue,” Butler said.

“As women, it’s hard. You get to your 20s and you finish school and all those athletic avenues close and you think, well, what next? I gave and sacrificed most of my childhood to be some kind of athlete, do I really just hang my hat here?

“I think the LFL worldwide has offered that platform for other women who had injuries or had to change sports. I think it’s such a high calibre of athlete competing and that was why I joined it.”

It wasn’t just the platform that the LFL provided, but gridiron also gave Butler an opportunity to condition her body for rugby.

“These girls are fair dinkum athletes,” she said. “They’re hitting hard and there is great support in terms of strength and conditioning and the best of physio and training facilities in terms of developing athletes, so I just took the opportunity.

“Had I not found the LFL and had a platform to keep me elite, in a contact sport and keep me game fit, I may not have been strong enough to be the player I am today.”

The LFL is played in front of packed stadiums in the US and has a global TV audience. Butler knew what she was signing up for when she joined — what she calls a “sex sells” marketing campaign — but she insists she never felt exploited.

“I am feminine, I am girly, and so I didn’t mind curling my hair and putting lipstick on,” Butler said.

“It’s just for one day that you dress up in that, the rest of the time you’re just a normal football athlete. You train in a normal outfit and you have your teammates, just like a normal football team.”

But rugby is Butler’s new chapter and she is excited to be part of one of the fastest growing female sports in the world.

She just hopes the rest of­ ­society pays attention.

“If society perhaps kept an eye out on what’s happening in the women’s sporting world they might just learn that they like it,” she said.

“Especially rugby, because we do hit pretty hard and that’s always entertaining — watching girls go at each other on the field. I can’t imagine that putting on the green and gold would ever get old and I’m just so privileged to be part of the movement in women’s rugby across the world.”

Originally published as Butler swaps lingerie for World Cup -





July 25, 2014 Posted by | Australia, IRB World Cup 2014, Players, Women's Rugby | Leave a comment

Super Rugby | Semi Final Preview | Waratahs v Brumbies

waratahs2014super15 brumbies2014

Waratahs – Brumbies

26th July 2014 Ground: Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Henry Speight of the Brumbies looks to break from a tackle by Nick Cummins of the Force

Henry Speight: Retains his place on the wing

The strongly-favoured NSW Waratahs have the lure of hosting their first Super Rugby final if they can get past the ACT Brumbies in a mouthwatering all-Australian semi-final clash at Allianz Stadium in Sydney.

The Waratahs are chasing their first Super Rugby title after two losing finals and are in the midst of a seven-match unbeaten run, including a 39-8 thumping of the Brumbies in Sydney.

The ‘Tahs have been the perennial underachievers in 18 years of Super Rugby, but under taskmaster Michael Cheika they finished seven points clear in this season’s final standings and look the team to beat.

The Sydneysiders have the twice triumphant Brumbies to overcome on home soil to ensure that they will stage this year’s final against the winners of the Crusaders and Sharks, who do battle in Christchurch on the same day.

It will be the fourth time the Waratahs have hosted a semi-final, with their only loss coming to the Brumbies, 51-10 in 2002.

Even though the ‘Tahs crushed the Brumbies five tries to one at their last meeting, Cheika is warning his charges to expect a torrid Australian derby with the Canberra side, who dethroned double defending champions the Waikato Chiefs 32-30 in last week’s home play-off.

“Their key players are back and they’ve got just as many international players as we have and they’ve got an excellent record in the last two or three seasons,” Cheika said.

“It’s going to be a really good match. We know what we have to do. We’re concentrating very much on our style and what we need to deliver in the game – try and turn the dial up as high as possible come kick-off.”

Israel Folau

Israel Folau: The Waratahs fullback returns to action

Folau returns

Cheika has recalled South African powerhouse lock Jacques Potgieter and is leaving Wallaby giant Will Skelton on the bench for a second-half impact.

Meanwhile, 12-try full-back Israel Folau and winger Rob Horne both return to the side after missing the final match of the regular season against Queensland Reds because of a thigh problem and ‘flu respectively.

The Brumbies are only weakened for Saturday’s match by long-term injuries to Wallabies David Pocock and Stephen Moore.

Henry Speight and Robbie Coleman retain their places on the wings, while Wallabies Joe Tomane and Pat McCabe will offer back-three cover from the bench meaning there is no place in the side for winger Clyde Rathbone, the sole survivor of the Brumbies’ last Super Rugby title in 2004.

“To have got through last weekend injury free, it’s great for us to be playing again this weekend to maintain momentum,” Brumbies director of rugby Laurie Fisher said.

“We were comfortable with where our set piece was last week against the Chiefs. I expect those areas to work in our favour again this weekend.

“The result won’t be determined by who’s favourite. The result will be decided by who is the better team on the night.

“There’s an intense rivalry which has been there since the competition started and I’m expecting a fierce clash of bodies this weekend.”

The Waratahs have a strong record at home over the Brumbies, winning seven of their last eight meetings.

Last 10 games played between the Waratahs and Brumbies
28-Jun-14 Waratahs 39 – 08 Brumbies
15-Mar-14 Brumbies 28 – 23 Waratahs
17-May-13 Waratahs 28 – 22 Brumbies
9-Mar-13 Brumbies 35 – 06 Waratahs
7-Jul-12 Waratahs 15 – 19 Brumbies
5-May-12 Brumbies 23 – 06 Waratahs
18-Jun-11 Waratahs 41 – 07 Brumbies
26-Mar-11 Brumbies 22 – 29 Waratahs
24-Apr-10 Waratahs 19 – 12 Brumbies
13-Mar-09 Brumbies 21 – 11 Waratahs


Overall Stats Waratahs

Overall Stats Brumbies

Overall Stats Brumbies

Games Played 24 Games Played 24
*Games Won 13 *Games Won 11
*Games Lost 11 *Games Lost 13
Games Drawn 0 Games Drawn 0
*Longest Winning Streak 3 *Longest Winning Streak 3
*Longest Losing Streak 3 *Longest Losing Streak 3
*Largest Points For 44 *Largest Points For 56
*Largest Points Against 56 *Largest Points Against 44
*Largest Winning Margin 34 *Largest Winning Margin 47
*Largest Losing Margin -47 *Largest Losing Margin -34
*Total Points For 531 *Total Points For 575
*Avg Points For 22.13 *Avg Points For 23.96
*Total Points Against 575 *Total Points Against 531
*Avg Points Against 23.96 *Avg Points Against 22.13
*Total Points Difference -44 *Total Points Difference 44
*Avg Points Difference -1.83 *Avg Points Difference 1.83
* = By  Waratahs * = By Brumbies

The teams:

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Alofa Alofa, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper (capt), 6 Stephen Hoiles, 5 Jacques Potgieter, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tola Latu, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Jeremy Tilse, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Mitch Chapman, 21 Pat McCutcheon, 22 Brendan McKibbon, 23 Matt Carraro, 24 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 25 Cam Crawford (two to be omitted).

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Robbie Coleman, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Leon Power, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Ruaidhri Murphy, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Fotu Auelua, 20 Tom McVerry, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Joe Tomane, 23 Pat McCabe.

Date: Saturday, July 26
Kick-off: 19:40 local (10:40 BST, 09:40 GMT)
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert, James Leckie
TMO: George Ayoub

STATS & Story Source : - 



10% Discount at PlayersRugby , off the Normal RRP
by entering the code “rugbyredefined

July 24, 2014 Posted by | Brumbies, Super Rugby, Waratahs | , , | Leave a comment

Super Rugby | Semi Final Preview | Crusaders v Sharks


Crusaders – Sharks

26th July 2014 Ground: AMI Stadium, Christchurch

Seven-time champion Crusaders take on a ravenous Sharks side in the first Super Rugby semi-final at the usually impenetrable fortress that is AMI Stadium in Christchurch on Saturday.


Pat Lambie: Restored to flyhalf for in-form Sharks

The fixture comes just two months after the Sharks produced a memorable 30-25 win at the venue that ended a run of 13 years without success for South African sides in the city.

But Crusaders’ head coach Todd Blackadder will have revenge on his mind as well as seeking a place in the Super Rugby final on August 2.

The Kiwi giants will be bidding to reach an 11th final having finished second to the New South Wales Waratahs in the regular season standings, but have not won a title since 2008 and the closest they have come to adding an eighth crown was when they lost the final to the Queensland Reds in 2011.

Two late penalties from flyhalf Frans Steyn allowed the Sharks to edge the Otago Highlanders 31-27 in Durban, putting them into the semi-finals for the eighth time.

Jake White’s side are the South African conference winners and also have the added incentive of trying to become the first overseas team to win a final in the history of Super Rugby.

“We have to be positive about winning two games overseas to get the title,” White said.

“Over the last fortnight we have had a great win over the Stormers and then had to fight for our lives to beat the Highlanders, and that is great momentum to take into the semi-finals.”

Three changes

Pat Lambie has been restored to fly-half and fellow international Willem Alberts has been shifted to lock as the Sharks made three changes to their starting line-up for the shopwdown in Christchurch.

Lambie, who made his first appearance in four months as a replacement in last weekend’s win over the Otago Highlanders, is restored to fly-half with Frans Steyn moved to inside centre alongside Paul Jordaan.

Springbok JP Pietersen, who was outside centre last week, is named on the wing in place of Sibusiso Sithole, who drops to the bench.

Alberts shifts to lock to replace the injured Anton Bresler, with Jean Deysel taking Alberts’ place on the flank. Stephan Lewies is back at lock after injury in place of Etienne Oosthuizen.

It will be Lambie’s first start since March when he tore his bicep. With Deysel having been elevated into the starting line-up, Tera Mtembu comes on to the bench.

Injury keeps talismanic prop Tendai Mtawira out but his teenage replacement Thomas du Toit received high praise after last weekend’s playoff win.

Richie McCaw C of the Crusaders leaves the field

Richie McCaw: Back in Crusaders colours

McCaw back

All Blacks captain and former World Player of the Year, Richie McCaw, will be back in Crusaders colours, having recovered from the broken rib he suffered playing for New Zealand against England in June.

Blackadder has also brought in hooker Corey Flynn, meaning the Crusaders will boast 13 current or former All Black internationals in their run-on side.

Fly-half Dan Carter also starts in an unfamiliar position, again lining up at inside centre outside Colin Slade as he continues his return from a six-month sabbatical.

“The Sharks have shown this season that they are an extremely classy outfit and a very difficult team to beat. This is our biggest challenge yet, but we feel ready for it,” Blackadder said.

The winners of the match will play the New South Wales Waratahs or ACT Brumbies, who face off in Saturday’s second semi-final in Sydney.

Last 10 games played between the Crusaders and Sharks
17-May-14 Crusaders 25 – 30 Sharks
5-Apr-13 Sharks 21 – 17 Crusaders
25-Jun-11 Crusaders 36 – 08 Sharks
27-Mar-11 Crusaders 44 – 28 Sharks
26-Feb-10 Crusaders 35 – 06 Sharks
18-Apr-09 Sharks 10 – 13 Crusaders
2-May-08 Crusaders 18 – 10 Sharks
3-Mar-07 Sharks 27 – 26 Crusaders
25-Feb-06 Crusaders 22 – 20 Sharks
29-Apr-05 Crusaders 77 – 34 Sharks

Overall Stats Crusaders

Overall Stats Crusaders

Overall Stats Sharks

Overall Stats Sharks

Games Played 20 Games Played 20
*Games Won 14 *Games Won 5
*Games Lost 5 *Games Lost 14
Games Drawn 1 Games Drawn 1
*Longest Winning Streak 7 *Longest Winning Streak 2
*Longest Losing Streak 2 *Longest Losing Streak 7
*Largest Points For 77 *Largest Points For 58
*Largest Points Against 58 *Largest Points Against 77
*Largest Winning Margin 43 *Largest Winning Margin 32
*Largest Losing Margin -32 *Largest Losing Margin -43
*Total Points For 620 *Total Points For 488
*Avg Points For 31 *Avg Points For 24.4
*Total Points Against 488 *Total Points Against 620
*Avg Points Against 24.4 *Avg Points Against 31
*Total Points Difference 132 *Total Points Difference -132
*Avg Points Difference 6.60 *Avg Points Difference -6.60
* = By Crusaders * = By Sharks

The teams:

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Kieron Fonotia, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Dan Carter, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Richie McCaw, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn , 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Tom Taylor, 23 Johnny McNicholl.

Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (c), 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Tera Mtembu, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 S’bura Sithole, 23 Tonderai Chavhanga.

Date: Saturday, July 26
Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Kick-off: 19:35 local (07:35 GMT, 09:35 SAST)
Weather: 9° C. Clear skies.
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann, Mike Fraser

STATS & Story Source : - 


ps510% Discount at PlayersRugby , off the Normal RRP
by entering the code “rugbyredefined


July 23, 2014 Posted by | Crusaders, Sharks, Super Rugby | , , , , | Leave a comment

Mexico 2014 NACRA Champs – T and T and USA South also bag victories


Mexico, playing short handed for nearly half a game due to card troubles, held off a game Barbados to claim the NACRA U19 Cup title for the first time with a 17-10 win.

It would be fifteen minutes before the scoreboard would flicker, as Barbados hit for a penalty and a 3-0 lead.

Just two minutes later it was fullback Diego Navarro getting a pass from fly-half Alejandro Barron to finish nicely in the right corner following a big run from outside centre Diego Gutierrez. The conversion was missed but Mexico held a slim 5-3 lead at the half.

Just before the half Marcus Ibarra, front row for Mexico, got a yellow card for repeated infringement opening the door for  Barbados to mount a comeback.

Despite being a man down to start the second frame Mexico hit with two tries in quick succession to go to 17-3. The second came from second row Sebastian Diaz getting a pass from a goal line ruck to dot down in the corner.

Around the 55 minute mark it was Barbados’ big no. 8 Conrad Edgar taking the game on his shoulders rumbling from five metres out to score under the posts. At the end of the play prop Marcus Ibarra tried to ruck the ball loose with his boot in-goal, resulting in another yellow card. Coupled with his previous infraction, yellow turned red, making Mexico short handed for the remainder of the game.

With a man advantage the opportunity to wear Mexico down in the forwards was presented, but strangely Barbados was fixated on getting the ball down to opposition territory quickly by kicking the ball repeatedly down the pitch.

Mexico, eager to absorb the possession and run the clock down, held on to the ball for long phases, ultimately denying Barbados the comeback they were so desperately fighting for.

Scrum-half and Captain Andres Rodriguez said he was surprised at the Bajan tactic but was pleased with the result.

“We kept getting the ball back so we would hold on to it as long as possible,” he said. “I am just so proud of my team and how they played when we were down a player.”

Trinidad and Tobago broke their collective ducks with an empathic 45-9 victory over the Cayman Islands to collect fifth place at the NACRA U19 tournament.

T and T scored nearly from the kick off with fullback Sebastian Navarro getting a clean path from forty metres to shock the Cayman Islanders.

T and T struck back for two more tries before the 20 minute mark with Cayman responding with a pair of penalties.

In the second half the home side went off the boil for a period, but Cayman could not offer any offense, though managing to keep the score under 50.

It was a highly anticipated third place play-off as a much talked about Jamaica with bags of pace would be taking on a physically imposing USA South squad.

USA South scored three tries in the opening twenty minutes to establish a 19-0 lead over Jamaica. 

It was all one way traffic through three quarters of the match until Jamaica got an intercept try from speedy flanker Samoi Smith, who got his hands on a US clearance kick and legged it in from fifty metres.

Jamaica would add a penalty and the US two more tries to take the final score to 32-10 and a third place finish for the South.

Final Standings of the Tournament

Cup WinnersMexico
Cup Runners upBarbados
Bowl WinnersUSA South
Bowl Runners UpJamaica
Plate WinnersTrinidad and Tobago
Plate Runners Up - Cayman Islands

Trophy Competition Standings

Trophy WinnersBermuda 
Trophy Runners UpTurks and Caicos
Trophy Plate WinnersTrinidad and Tobago Selects
Trophy Plate Runners UpBritish Virgin Islands

Story Source :



July 22, 2014 Posted by | Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Mexico, NACRA Championship, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, USA South | , | Leave a comment

300 not out: Easts’ Rhys Ward Reflects On A Historic Milestone

An impressive Effort !

300 not out

Don't Argue: Rhys Ward racks up his 300th grade game today against Parramatta - Photo: SPA Images“I would never dream of playing for another club, I love this place,” says Eastern Suburbs prop, Rhys Ward, when asked about his longevity at Woollahra Oval. The 35-year-old carves out his own slice of Beasties’ history today when he turns out for the 300th time in the tricolour jersey, becoming only the second player in the illustrious history of the club to achieve such a feat.

Having walked through the gates at Easts for the first time in 1997, Ward has racked up an unbroken stint of 17 years service, adding 14 years of grade footy to his three years in colts. In that time, he has graced all four grades, winning Premierships in 2nd Grade (2009) and 4th Grade (2010 & 2011) and lifted three best and fairest awards.

While the majority of his career has been spent in the lower grades, he has still accrued 35 Shute Shield appearances and was on the bench for the Grand Final against Sydney University in 2007. In fact, his last turnout for the Beasts was in 1st Grade, coming off the bench to help out in round 8’s shock defeat of high-flying Eastwood. The ultimate clubman, it was a perfect example of his willingness to put in for his team mates.

Early Days: A youthful Ward back in his colts years at Woollahra - Photo: SPA Images“I played all four grades that day, I think I was on and off the pitch five times,” he says. “It makes it a long day and I’m knackered after one game these days, let alone four but I’m happy to help out wherever.”

That was his 299th appearance and while the club had prepared to celebrate his significant milestone the following week, fate intervened when he incurred a knee injury whilst playing in a charity 10s tournament in Thailand a few days later.

“I’ve been playing grade for 14 years and might have missed one week here and there but never two weeks in a row in all that time,” he says. “Then I play this tournament in Thailand, which I’ve competed in for the last six years, and I went and did my medial ligament in my knee and haven’t played for eight weeks.”

Plans to honour his achievement therefore, have quite literally been on ice ever since but in defiance of the doctor’s 12 week recovery prognosis, he returns a month ahead of schedule for Easts’ final home game of 2014 and what should be an almighty celebration.

“They’re making a massive deal of it, a bit bigger than I thought,” he humbly explains. “I’m sort of feeling a bit embarrassed because we’ve got so many people coming and they’re making such a big day of it so it’s going to be quite confronting. I never played all these games for any accolades, I just did it because I loved it.”

A product of Waverley College, where he took his fledgling rugby steps alongside future Wallabies Adam Freier and Ryan Cross, Ward was always going to adopt the game they play in heaven as his chosen sporting pursuit. After all, it’s in his blood.

The name Rhys is a legacy of his late father Anthony, a proud Welshman who represented the Welsh schoolboys side before arriving on these shores at the age of 20 with rugby coursing through his veins. If Ward has any regrets about his time at Easts, it’s that his Dad, who passed away in 2006, didn’t get to see him play 1st Grade footy.

Champions: A proud skipper covets the Henderson Cup after the 2011 4th Grade Grand Final - Photo: SPA ImagesOriginally a no.8, Ward made the inevitable move to the front rowers union in his early 20’s after a diet of youthful ‘clean’ living rendered him surplus to requirements in the back row. “I started working at a restaurant and had a good off-season with lots of alcohol!” he recalls.

“We used to finish work at midnight and then go out til 5am and I certainly learned a lot about life at that time. I went back to Easts about 15 kilos heavier and they said ‘We’re gonna change you to the front row’ and I’ve been there ever since!”

Such an extended period of time spent in Sydney club rugby means Ward has seen it, done it and got several tee-shirts. A quickfire Q&A was called for.

Favourite ground other than Woollahra Oval?

“North Sydney Oval. The pitch is always so lush and it’s got so much history too.”

Least favourite?

“Uni Oval. The grandstand is miles away so you don’t get much atmosphere, they’ve still got that massive cricket pitch in there and when it rains, it just become slippery. Or they stick you on the back there at St John’s and I hate it.”

Weekend Warrior: Ward enjoying the conditions at a sunny Chatswood Oval - Photo: SPA ImagesHighlight of your career?

“Beating Uni in the 2009 2nd Grade semi-final has to be a standout memory. I think they were undefeated all year and heavy favourites going in and someone overheard them before the game talking about how they ‘just needed to get this one out of the way before they play in the final’. That got back to us in the changing room, fired us up and we ambushed them. We were up 21-0 after 15 minutes. That’s a very happy memory.”

Best Easts team you’ve played in?

“I think that 4th Grade team in 2010. We had a mixture of guys that had played 1st Grade rugby either here or overseas and three or four guys who came down from Brisbane and we were all in our 30’s. There was myself and my good mates Charlie Thompson and Matt McGann and that experience we had between us all, we were just untouchable.

“We won back-to-back Premierships and drew one and lost one game in those two seasons and I think we changed the way4th Grade was perceived. Before then, it was a case of us and them but I think we earned a bit more respect and the club bonded across the grades much better as a result. Also, we partied twice as hard as we played. We trained well through the week but when the job was done on the weekend, we mugged around and it was great fun.”

Tributes from Anton La Vin & Campbell Aitken

Best player you’ve played with?

“There’s been a few. Tiaan Strauss was here in my first year of grade, I played with Clyde Rathbone in 1st Grade, I’ve packed down against Patricio Noriega back in his heyday when he was in 1st Grade and I was in 2’s and we’ve had a lot of good halfbacks here too in Luke Burgess, Brendan McKibbin and Sam Payne a few years back.

“But probably the best guy of the lot was another halfback called Tim Clark who I came through colts with. He played grade at Easts for about three years before heading to France and we still maintain that we invented that little inside flick that George Gregan used to do. We were doing that in the under 19s and we reckon he came down and saw it and stole it!”

Most annoying team mate?

“Ed Brenac. Everyone knows him as ‘The Pest’.”

If you could change one law in rugby or remove it all together, what would it be?

“I’d change the scrum laws back, I don’t really like the new law to tell you the truth. Also, the interpretation at the breakdown is different every week with every referee. My biggest fan is my Mum but she doesn’t understand any of the rules!

Making Friends: Head chef Ward releases some of his daily stress on weekends - Photo: SPA Images“I liked it when they had the trial law variations and they gave a short arm penalty for everything to speed the game up so teams would take quick taps instead of a scrum. I’m a prop and I’ve learned to love scrums but I think a faster, more visually entertaining game is just better and more fun. That was a good year, I’d go back to that.”

Q&A aside, the biggest question of all was, after 300 games, how much longer does he intend to keep playing? Having put the same question to him after both the 2010 and 2011 grand finals at Concord Oval and being told that they would be his last year, I think we should take his answer this time around with a pinch of salt…

“Maybe one more year,” he smiles. “I was really happy with my form this year until I got the injury and the 1st Grade coach was happy for me to be around as a fill-in off the bench for them so everything was going well and this injury kind of knocked the wind out of my sails. Work is really getting into me because they’re worried about me getting injured etc so we’ll weigh it up at the end of this year but, maybe one more!”

Work is being the head chef at the infamous Sydney Cove Oyster Bar in Circular Quay, a position he has held for the last two years after serving his apprenticeship as a sous chef. In life as in rugby, Ward obviously likes the comfort of a settled environment with familiar characters and patterns and is more than happy with his current lot. He’s certainly earned it.

“It’s been difficult because I’ve always done around 60 hours a week and that includes a double shift on Friday before a game and a double on Sundays after the game,” he says. “That was hard when I was playing 1st Grade because I couldn’t do much training on Tuesdays under doctor’s orders as I was simply putting my body through too much.

“It’s just something I’ve always done and I guess I’m used to it now but I think all the pent up stress and aggression I can’t take out on the staff at work comes out on the field on Saturday instead!”

Mateship: Ward celebrates the 2nd Grade Grand Final win in 2009 with good mates Charlie Thompson (left) and Matt McGann (centre) - Photo: SPA ImagesOne thing’s for sure, whether it’s on the field or off it, Ward is destined to be a fixture at Woollahra Oval for many years to come, although, he has his reservations about fitting in. “I think I’ve got a lot more out of the club than it has out of me. I may have played 300 games for Easts but I feel like it’s given me more but it’s really hard to put into words.

“I’ve made so many friends here and grown up here in a way, it’s a part of who I am,” he continues.“You make so many friends and you get to meet people from every walk of life, people you don’t expect to play with and my worry is that, when I do hang up the boots, it just won’t be the same.

“You can come down here on a social level once you’ve retired but I don’t think you can mix with the actual players anymore, there’s not that bond and I’m scared that I’ll lose that. When you’re playing, you train twice a week together with these blokes – even if it’s pissing down with rain. You go out on the pitch and spill blood together on the weekend and then share a drink and a story afterwards. I love footy but it’s the mateship that comes with it that is really special.”

You won’t find anyone disagreeing here. Congratulations Rhys, a true servant of grassroots rugby.

by Paul Cook –



July 21, 2014 Posted by | Australia, Players | , , , , | Leave a comment



This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Kenya have swept the Elgon Cup by claiming victory in all three categories of the Elgon Cup. Kenya’s U-19s started the sweep by defeating their Ugandan counterparts 27-12 on the day to claim a 37-27 aggregate win, having lost the first leg 10-15 in Kampala last weekend.

Marlin Mukolwe put Kenya 3-0 with an 8th minute penalty before converting Michael Wanjala’s try for a 10-o lead.

The Baby Cranes would get into the game courtesy of a a Pius Ogena try but a Edgar Khafumi try and a Mukolwe conversion saw Chipur lead 17-5 at half time.

Billy Isabwa’s try and another Mukolwe conversion put Kenya 24-5 up after the break. Mukolwe’s penalty saw the hosts go 27-5 up as Ugandan grew in confidence. Edrine Kayima’s converted try for the Baby Cranes saw the game close at 27-12.


The Kenya Lionessess were too strong for the Ugandal Lady Cranes as they posted a 39-10 home win for a 72-25 aggregate win that saw them reclaim the title.

The Lady Cranes started this game brightly, exerting themselves with authority and were unlucky to fall behind when Rachael Odhiambo touched down on 17 minutes, 5-0 to Kenya. Aisha Nakityo levelled for the defending champions but further tries from Phila Olando and Doreen Remour complimented by a Janet Awuor conversion saw Kenya take a 17-5 lead into half time.

Irene Atieno’s converted try after the break extended the hosts lead before Beatrice Atim landed for Uganda, cutting the deficit to 24-10.

Janet “Shebesh” Akello would score a great solo try, racing 60 meters, beating two defenders along the way to the try line, 29-10 for the home girls. Atieno’s penalty and a converted try at the death secured Kenya’s first Elgon Cup title since 2012.


Trailing 14-21 from last week’s first leg in Kampala, Kenya A romped to a 34-0 shut out of Uganda that saw them win the Elgon Cup 48-21 on aggregate.

The Rugby Cranes started with intent but fell behind when Philip Owuor pressured Bishop Onen into an error, Owuor grounding for a 5-0 score line. It would remain a fair contest, Uganda’s Romano Ogwal standing out for Uganda as they surged forward in territory and possession. They however fell further behind when Nato Simiyu grounded on 33 minutes with Isaac Adimo converting for a 12-0, a lead they took into the break.

Godfrey Mbeya, largely quiet during the first half, wrote his name on the scorer’s list, showing presence of mind to follow through Kelvin Omiyo’s speculative punt, his touch down putting Kenya 17-0 up and 31-21 on aggregate.

Simiyu, outstanding all afternoon, sliced through the Ugandan defence, offloading for Eden Agero to touch down with Adimo converting for a 24-0 lead. Further tries from substitutes Jacob Ojee and Victor Brown secured the 34-0 result for the Kenyans, the biggest winning score line in an Elgon Cup leg.

STATS & Story Source :



July 21, 2014 Posted by | African Rugby, Elgon Cup, Kenya, Uganda | Leave a comment

New Zealand Rugby mourns the passing of Kevin Skinner

Brent Impey elected new Chairman of New Zealand Rugby

New Zealand Rugby mourns the passing of

kevinSkinnerKevin Skinner All Blacks No.491

New Zealand Rugby is mourning the death of former All Blacks Captain Kevin Skinner, who passed away early this morning in Auckland, aged 86.

“It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of Kevin Skinner,” said New Zealand Rugby Chairman Brent Impey.

“Kevin was a much-admired player, regarded by many as one of New Zealand’s greatest props, while his role in the All Blacks’ first series win over South Africa in 1956 has earned him a place in rugby folklore.

“I am sure that in coming days Kevin will be fondly remembered across New Zealand, in particular by the Otago rugby community, for his performances for the All Blacks as well as his continued contributions to the game as a coach and administrator.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.”

Skinner was 21 when he made his All Blacks Test debut in May 1949 against South Africa in Cape Town. He went on to play 61 matches, including 18 Tests, and captained the All Blacks in six matches, including two Tests, before retiring at the end of the 1954 season.

In 1956 he was recalled to the All Blacks for the final two Tests against the touring Springboks, bringing his Test tally to 20. The South African front row had been dominant in the first two Tests but Skinner’s return strengthened the All Blacks and provided the side with the power and toughness required to ensure New Zealand’s first series win over the ‘Boks.

Skinner played his provincial rugby for Otago, mostly from the Pirates Club, before shifting to Waiuku in 1956 and turning out for Counties and the combined Bay of Plenty-Thames Valley-Counties side. He was part of the 1947 Otago side that lifted the Ranfurly Shield from Southland and the Combined side that faced the South Africans in 1956, a match held four days before the final Test.

Following his retirement from playing, Skinner remained involved with the game as a club coach and later became involved with the Barbarians, including serving as President from 1988 to 1990.  Skinner was also a skilled boxer, winning the New Zealand heavyweight boxing championship in 1947.

Profile by Bob Luxford for the New Zealand Rugby Museum.

FULL NAME Kevin Lawrence Skinner
BORN Thursday, 24 November 1927 in Dunedin
DIED Sunday, 20 July 2014 in Auckland
PHYSICAL 1.83m, 97kg
LAST SCHOOL St Kevin’s College
(First made All Blacks from)
Dunedin Pirates
PROVINCES Otago, Counties
ALL BLACK DEBUT Tuesday, 31 May 1949
v Western Province Universities at Cape Town
aged 21 years, 188 days
INTERNATIONAL DEBUT Saturday, 16 July 1949
v South Africa at Cape Town
aged 21 years, 234 days
LAST TEST Saturday, 1 September 1956
v South Africa at Auckland
aged 28 years, 282 days
ALL BLACK TEST POINTS 3pts (1t, 0c, 0p, 0dg, 0m)
ALL BLACK GAME POINTS 6pts (2t, 0c, 0p, 0dg, 0m)
TOTAL ALL BLACK POINTS 9pts (3t, 0c, 0p, 0dg, 0m)
ALL BLACK GAMES THAT SKINNER PLAYED For more about Kevin Skinner, please click here.

Story Source : All Blacks Media Release , 




July 21, 2014 Posted by | New Zealand, Players | , , | Leave a comment

Super Rugby | Result – QFinal | Sharks 31 v 27 Highlanders


Sharks 31 – 27 Highlanders

19th July 2014 Ground: Kings park, Durban, South Africa

Sharks beat Highlanders 31-27 at Kings Park

Etienne Oosthuizen Tonderai Chavhanga  Sharks

Etienne Oosthuizen of the Sharks celebrates with Tonderai Chavhanga after his try

The Sharks narrowly overcame the Highlanders 31-27 at Kings Park to set up a Super Rugby semi-final with the Crusaders.

Two late penalties from Francois Steyn helped the Sharks subdue a spirited fightback from the visitors, who had led 27-25 with 16 minutes remaining.

Earlier, Steyn also kicked nine points as the Durban side quickly established a 10-point lead in the first half, but the Highlanders fought back to lead 17-13 at the interval.

The Sharks steadily reined in their New Zealand-based opponents after the break, yet Phil Burleigh’s try set up a frantic finale before Steyn had the final word with two more penalties to secure a 31-27 victory.

The win ensured there will be South African representation in the Super Rugby semi-finals next weekend, with the Sharks facing the Crusaders in Christchurch, while the Waratahs and the Brumbies take each other on in an Australian derby clash in Sydney.

Steyn’s first points arrived in the third minute after Jarrad Hoeata was penalised for straying offside at a ruck and the Sharks were 10-0 up after Steyn converted Marcell Coetzee’s try from a drive.Lima Sopoaga’s penalty got the Highlanders on the board after Jannie du Plessis was penalised for being offside, yet Steyn restored the 10-point gap when Shane Christie stopped a maul illegally.

Highlanders centre Phil Burleigh hands on head

Phil Burleigh: Scored late try to no avail


The tide began to turn when Malakai Fekitoa ran on to a pass from Ben Smith to crash over, Sopoaga converting, and Kane Hames’ converted try on 40 minutes meant the Highlanders led at half-time.

Sopoaga had kicked the extras on Hames’ score and pushed the New Zealand side further ahead with a penalty in the 48th minute after Willem Alberts was penalised for side-entry at a ruck.

The Sharks were level six minutes later, however.

Bismarck du Plessis dived onto the loose ball when Elliot Dixon’s clearance at the back of a scrum went forward, and Steyn converted to make it 20-20.

Try-scorer turned provider in the 56th minute, Bismark du Plessis drawing in a defender before offloading to Tonderai Chavhanga, who dotted down in the left-hand corner.

The five-point lead was a slender one, though, and it evaporated in the 63rd minute as Burleigh grabbed the Highlanders’ third try after gathering a pass from Patrick Osborne. Sopoaga converted.

Both Bismarck du Plessis and Jean Deysel went close to crossing for the Sharks to snatch the lead back, but it was Steyn who won the day for the hosts.

The Sharks edged a one-point lead when Steyn punished them for illegal scrummaging in the 74th minute and, on the stroke of full-time, he added one last three-pointer as a sweetener after several defenders were caught offside.

Sharks now Play the Crusaders

Sharks now Play the Crusaders

The scorers:

For Sharks:
Tries: Coetzee, B du Plessis, Chavanaga
Cons: Steyn 2
Pens: Steyn 4

For Highlanders:
Tries: Fekitoa, Hames, Burleigh
Cons: Sopoaga 3
Pens: Sopoaga 2

The teams:

Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 S’bura Sithole, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Paul Jordaan, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Francois Steyn, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (capt), 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Jean Deysel, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Tonderai Chavhanga.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Shane Christie, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Chris King, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Matias Diaz, 18 JP Koen, 19 Josh Bekhuis, 20 Tom Franklin, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Trent Renata, 23 Gareth Evans.

Date: Saturday 19 July
Venue: Kings park, Durban, South Africa
Referee: Steve Walsh
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper, Cobus Wessels

STATS & Story Source : 



July 20, 2014 Posted by | Highlanders, Sharks, Super Rugby | , , | Leave a comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,409 other followers