I cant wait for the big show!

If you have just seen South Africa go down in the dying minutes to Brazil in the Confed i hope you realised what an achievement it was to stay in touching distance to the worlds best for almost 90 minutes and i really hope that gives you hope and excitement for the 2010 fiesta that is coming!!

If not check out these pics – and if you are still not excited then i suggest you stop reading and walk to the nearest highway and jump in!

A young goalkeeper reaches for the ball during a soccer match in the Erasmia township at Erasima on June 23, 2009 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

South Africa’s new Soccer City Stadium is seen, under construction with the Johannesburg skyline in the background, on the outskirts of Soweto, South Africa on June 13, 2009. FIFA is concerned that some of the stadiums being built in South Africa for next year’s World Cup will remain idle afterward unless organizers take steps to guarantee future use.

THE REST ARE AMAZING SHOTS – GO SEE THEM – GO NOW!!

1 – 0 to the Boks – it was fun in the sun but almost a disaster!

So flying into Durbs with all the built up excitement of a 12 year wait – the air was filled with anticipation and a fair amount of Heineken – and not sure of the conditions on the ground and how many of the enemy had actually arrived at our shores we decided to take one of our own!

The team gets very focussed on the plane down – to be fair this is as fresh as anyone would look the entire day

On the ground there were much more of the enemy than we actually thought

But the battle had to get underway at some point – and with a interesting ‘Lion King’ type of before show with some scantily clad chicks it was time for the anthems! Now the first 50 min of rugby looked like that team i left in Paris clutching the golden William Webb ellis – they were fast decisive – clinical and focussed. In fact i dont think if the Lions had 300 minutes they would have got 10 points!

But then a stroke of brilliance from our interesting coach – i like to compare it to taking a skyscraper – find the most critical load bearing points and then strapping dynamite to them and blowing them away. This genius took off the front row who had been ferocious the whole day! The captain – the worlds greatest scrum half – the flyhalf – the back line captain and thought that we would come out still miles ahead!

HOW ARROGANT STUPID AND SHORT SIGHTED CAN YOU BE – as expected the lions came back in full force and almost turn the smashing around! If they had 5 more minutes i would have been writing a much more angry note than this! But at the end of the day the records show WE ARE 1-0 IN THE SERIES!


S
EE YOU AT LOFTUS!

Its almost time! SEE YOU IN DURBS!


The hour is nigh. One more day until the most eagerly-awaited Test series of all kicks off on Saturday. A real series. The last great tour. Don’t you just love it?

bok logo

Emotions will run high on Saturday for many of the men in red shirts. For some, it will be the nerves of making a debut in that treasured kit item. For others, a fresh chance, finally, to feel the glory palpably absent from the 2005 tour.

Emotions will run high in green shirts as well. The only of the Tri-Nations not to have successfully brought a Lion problem under control in the last series of tours, there’s a new target to achieve for a demanding nation still sceptical over its new coach and a final feather in the cap for a large part of a side that boasts nearly 47 caps per man in the side and many a World Cup winner’s medal.

It’s about time some emotion came into it all. The greed with which the organisers have set about selling the soul of this tour, coupled with the cotton wool Peter de Villiers has kept his squad wrapped in, have meant that the provincial games have frequently been played with half-strength teams in a half-hearted atmosphere.

Even the day before the Test, tickets are still available. That’s tickets for a game between the World Champions and the British and Irish Lions touring team that comes around only once every dozen years. Still tickets available? They should be costing over a thousand rand on the black market between desperate punters, not from a sleepy ticket office. Someone, somewhere, has made a dreadful error.

That’s not stopped the travelling fans heading over. Since Cape Town, they’ve been arriving in droves, flights chock-full of stocky chaps in the natty red Adidas garb, singing songs about dicky-didos, sweet chariots and being ‘lost like a slave that no man could free’. Bagpipes have piped, even a couple of trumpets have played. The locals may not be coming to the party, but there’s no shortage of tourists.

Speaking of wind instruments, no item will have a greater effect on Saturday’s proceedings than the whistle of referee Bryce Lawrence. All tour, the Lions have seen confusion at the scrum and breakdown, justified in some cases, straw-clutching in others.

Gethin Jenkins has just cause to be more concerned than most, having popped his opponent all over the place in Durban a few days ago yet found himself on the receiving end of three or four technical penalties, as well as any number of resets where the penalties should have been coming his way.

“When he got tired, he was going in and going on the floor,” said Jenkins on Durban.

“We should have kept him up and worked him. Instead I conceded penalties. But every referee is different, we have to do what we do and make sure we know what’s going on.”

Ian McGeechan will by now have had his pre-match meeting with Bryce Lawrence and company, where he said he has sought “a strong voice” over the breakdown and scrum, rather than any specific ruling. Privately, he’ll be looking for Lawrence to be very aware of how and why a scrum goes down, and to be decisive enough and authoritative enough to stop it happening. He’ll also have sought an explicit ruling on who is offside, and when and where.

As far as the game goes, both camps have expressed their intention on caution initially, with the Boks’ main weapons in their pack and McGeechan renowned for a patient phase-building game. How long that will last is anyone’s guess. The Lions’ chief weaponry is out wide and Warren Gatland said earlier in the week that up to now, only about 30 per cent of the practiced tactical nuances have been on display at any one time. Some, like the utilisation of Tommy Bowe’s skills in the middle, have been devastating. Others, like the trimming down of the numbers securing possession, are still in need of urgent refinement.

What Peter de Villiers has sought to bring is anyone’s guess. He’s not been seen at a press conference this week, nor has he been hands-on in any way at training sessions. Saturday holds a potential well of surprise as far as tactics go – if there’s one coach to be relied upon to produce the unconventional, it is he.

So what a game we have. But it’s not all won and lost here, as McGeechan stressed on Thursday. It’s a series. We have to look at it like that. Expect a tight game, where gaining a small advantage is the priority. To that end, expect tension and a close finish. And it’s the World Champions against the Lions. Expect a belter!

Ones to watch & head to head: Too many to single out here, so please see our special head-to-head feature!

Prediction: First big call of the tour… we have the Lions by six, just edging the Boks by virtue of being a bit more battle-hard.

The teams:

South Africa: 15 Frans Steyn, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Adi Jacobs, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Ruan Pienaar, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Juan Smith, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 John Smit (c), 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 17 Deon Carstens, 18 Andries Bekker, 19 Danie Rossouw, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Jaque Fourie, 22 Morné Steyn.

British & Irish Lions: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Brian O’Driscoll, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 David Wallace, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Paul O’Connell (c), 4 Alun-Wyn Jones, 3 Phil Vickery, 2 Lee Mears, 1 Gethin Jenkins.

Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Adam Jones, 18 Donncha O’Callaghan, 19 Martyn Williams, 20 Harry Ellis, 21 Ronan O’Gara, 22 Rob Kearney.

Date: Saturday, June 20

Venue: ABSA Stadium Durban

Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT)

Weather: Warm, sunny, and muggy. 24°C with high humidity

Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)

Assistant referees: Stuart Dickinson, Vinny Munro (New Zealand)

Television match official: Christophe Berdos (France)

Assessor: Tappe Henning (South Africa)

The LIONS have arrived!

Yes yes i know they have been here for a while but they are just getting used to the harshness of the sun for a bit before they kick into gear – which they most certainly did last night! As a life long golden lions / gauteng lions / lions / transvaal / gauteng supporter i was quite horrified to see how easily the British version of the cat managed to tear us to absolute shreds around the rucks and through the centre pairing – not to mention we threw them two perfect intercept tries!

Pretty much the Golden Lions only points for the day!
Pretty much the Golden Lions only points for the day!

The British team looked fresh fit and focussed and they torn through our lions as if they had swine flu! The only few high points of the evening were the following

– 5 hip flasks and a few cokes with my mates in the stands at Ellis for the first time in a long time!

– The cheerleaders!

– One of my mates casually leaning backwards to start a conversation with the arbitrary MAN behind him with the opening line of ‘is that Andre Pretorius at number 10 – i think he has darkened his hair slightly!’

– Kicking the Roach brothers to death at pool at one of JHBs oldest pubs!

THIS TOUR MAKES ME SO DAMN EXCITED!! BRING ON DURBS AND BRING ON THE BOKS TO KICK SOME ASS!

Dissapointed YES! At losing? NO!

This morning i woke up very dissapointed! Dont get me wrong – i am a massive Manchester United fan! I have seen every game this season and dont plan to miss any until the end – but sundays FA Cup semi made me bitterly sad! Not because we lost – because sometimes in life you do lose – you strive and play for victory at every moment but sometimes things dont always go your way and you are left to taste the cliched bitter bitter defeat. But i have always believed that there is a certain respect you must pay to the game itself!

I have never been a fan of the saying ‘its not whether you win or lose etc tc’ thats something whiney loser say – but sometimes, just sometimes it is more about the game. FA Cup semis and finals are about the game! They are about wearing a newly tailored suit in your clubs colours and travelling to the grand Wembly stadium praying you will be the one to give your team glory! You put out your best team and they play with the pride of millions of fans around the world watching them!

Im not stupid – i understand that the superstars were tired and rightfully so – but that is no excuse for not travelling with your team – no excuse for  half hearted penatly and i bet if you were to ask Wayne Rooney he would have told you he wanted to be on that field every second in the Glorious Wembly Sunshine!

It gives me no joy to write this but to day i see what all those other fans think of us – arrogant and smug!

After all is said and done – United are gone from the 2009 FA Cup and very sadly i say rightly so!

Nemanja Vidic tracks Leon Osman

GO READ A VIDIC’s COMMENTS!

So here’s the newest story . . .

So this story has been going backward and forward for too long now – even though i think that this whole thing was the biggest waste of web reporting space – but the new solution is both logos! Hey im all for it – ill even go out and buy a new one for the lions tour – but seriously guys WE DONT CARE JUST PICK SOMETHING AND STICK WITH IT!

Bok makes way for King Protea

Tuesday 02nd December 2008

The South African Rugby Union (SARU) have confirmed the Springbok emblem will move on the national team’s playing jersey to make way for the King Protea.

The team will still be known as the Springboks, but the move was made after a campaign by politicians to get the national symbol to be used by the rugby team.

“The President’s Council of the South African Rugby Union on Monday resolved to move the Springbok emblem to the right-hand side of the national playing jersey,” a statement from the SARU said.

“The decision was taken to accommodate the application of the National Sports Emblem – the King Protea – and to bring SA Rugby in line with other South African sports federations and planned legislation.

“As a consequence of the change, the Protea that is currently displayed above the leaping Springbok will be removed from the Springbok logo.”

The World Champion Springboks will don their new logo in 2009 when they take on the British and Irish Lions.

“The Council took cognisance of the advice they received from the Sports Minister on pending national legislation and a consensus was reached,” said SARU president Oregan Hoskins.

“The possibility of retaining the Springbok on the left-hand side was discussed, as council had not taken a decision on the positioning and legislation remains to be promulgated.

“However, it was the decision of council to avoid confusion by making the move now and to prevent a future necessity of making a second change in due course.”

Im glad my tax money is being used for valuable meetings?

The name of the Springbok rugby team and the emblem can stay, but the King Protea has to appear on the left-hand side, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe confirmed.

Mantashe repeated the solution proposed by the minister of sport and recreation Makhenkesi Stofile at a news conference at Luthuli House on Monday.

He referred to the Bok issue as an example of where a solution was found after a public debate.

“When they talk about destroying the Springbok emblem, I say the country’s emblem, which is the King Protea, should appear on the left-hand side. You can have the Springbok on the right, on your arm, your shorts or anywhere else,” he said.

“It is the commercial trademark of the Springboks. That’s fine. You can call the team the Springboks as you call the Australian rugby team the Wallabies.”

No one knows what the hell is going on!!

Bok emblem staying put

The Springbok currently appears on South African jerseys

South Africa’s world champions will be allowed to continue to use the Springbok emblem for the foreseeable future despite claims it is divisive.

The country’s Sports Minister Makhenkesi Stofile, South African Rugby Union (SARU) president Oregan Hoskins and his deputy Mark Alexander agreed to keep the Springbok at a meeting in Cape Town on Tuesday.

“We enjoyed a very positive meeting with the sports minister in which issues of mutual interest were discussed,” Hoskins reported.

“He explained that legislation requiring the national emblem to be worn on the left-hand side of the jersey of national sports federations will be promulgated by the end of this year.

“We informed him of the earlier decision of the President’s Council to fall in line with national legislation.

“The minister also advised us that the commercial emblem of national sporting federations – in rugby’s case the Springbok – can be utilised as federations deem fit, so long as that use does not compromise the national emblem.”

Hoskins will brief the SARU President’s Council of the meeting at an extraordinary council meeting in Cape Town on December 1.

But i dont understand – i still see a Springbok on the jersey?

The Springbok rugby team will wear a green and gold star on their playing jersey on the end-of-year tour as part of South African rugby’s campaign to highlight the sport’s opposition to racism.

The initiative was launched in Cape Town on Thursday by South African Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins.

“It is a simple logo but carries a powerful message,” said Hoskins.

“We chose the STAR symbol as it is an acronym for Stand Together Against Racism. There is no wording in the design but we’re hopeful that the symbol will instantly send out our message.

“Racism is not just rugby’s problem – it is a South African problem and this is rugby’s approach to tackling it.”

Some people you just dont annoy – no matter who you support!

Nelson Mandela, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Michael Schumacher etc etc.

There are some people in this world who you cannot question in their area of expertise – dont get me wrong im not comparing Nelson to Tiger in any way other than they have both achieved a certain level of ‘Holiness’ in their respective arenas. This level allows them to do and say pretty much whatever they want without STUPID IGNORANT PEASANTS from questioning them!

Alex Furgeson is one of these people – no matter who your team is and which part of the world you hail from you must agree that Sir Alex is the greatest club coach of all time!

PLEASE PEOPLE DONT PISS HIM OFF – YOU JUST DONT DO THAT SORT OF THING!

DONT F*** WITH FERGIE!
DONT F*** WITH FERGIE!

Manchester – Sir Alex Ferguson’s dispute with Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon escalated on Friday as the Manchester United manager responded to the latest insult to come from Spain.

Calderon used a Madrid-based newspaper sympathetic to his club to describe Ferguson as “senile”, after the United manager referred to Real’s historic links with former Spanish dictator Franco.

Relations between what are, arguably, the two biggest football clubs in the world have been strained in the wake of Real’s summer pursuit of United winger Cristiano Ronaldo.

And while Ferguson claimed he did not want to become embroiled in a war of words with his bitter rival on Friday, he could not resist a short, sharp response.

“He has a few strange things to say every week,” said Ferguson of Calderon.

“There is a lot of hot air comes out of that man and I’m not going to get involved in it.

“I think he is very disappointed not to get Ronaldo and I’m delighted to say he is still here. I’ll keep saying that.”