Thursday, November 15, 2007

Heineken Cup 05/06 - Munster Rugby video

Montage of Munster tries from the last four games of the Heineken Cup 05/06.

Heineken Cup Fixtures [december]
Heineken Cup 2008 - Wasps vs Munster

Heineken Cup 2008 - Wasps vs Munster

Heineken Cup 2008 - Wasps vs Munster video

Heineken Cup Fixtures [november 16-18]
Heineken Cup Fixtures [december]
Highs and lows of Heineken Cup 2007-08

Heineken Cup Fixtures [december]

Friday 7th December 2007
Leinster v Edinburgh Donnybrook (20:00)
Bourgoin v Gloucester Stade Pierre Rajon (20:00)
Ospreys v Ulster Liberty Way (20:00)
Saturday 8th December 2007
Treviso v Newport-Gwent D'gons Stadio Comunale di Monigo (13:30)
Clermont Auvergne v Wasps The Recreation Ground (13:35)
Harlequins v Bristol The Stoop (15:00)
Saracens v Viadana Vicarage Road (15:00)
Leicester v Toulouse Welford Road (15:30)
Llanelli Scarlets v Munster Stradey Park (17:30)
Sunday 9th December 2007
Glasgow v Biarritz Hughenden (13:00)
Stade Francais v Cardiff Blues Stade Jean Bouin (15:00)
London Irish v Perpignan Madejski Stadium (15:00)
Friday 14th December 2007
Ulster v Ospreys Ravenhill Grounds (20:00)
Biarritz v Glasgow Parc des Sports Aguilera (20:00)
Saturday 15th December 2007
Viadana v Saracens Stadio Luigi Zaffanella (13:30)
Cardiff Blues v Stade Francais Cardiff Arms Park (13:35)
Newport-Gwent D'gons v Treviso Rodney Parade (14:30)
Gloucester v Bourgoin Kingsholm (15:00)
Perpignan v London Irish Stade Aimй Giral (15:30)
Edinburgh v Leinster Murrayfield (15:30)
Wasps v Clermont Auvergne Causeway Stadium (17:30)
Sunday 16th December 2007
Munster v Llanelli Scarlets Thomond Park (13:00)
Bristol v Harlequins Memorial Ground (15:00)

Heineken Cup Fixtures [november 16-18]

Friday 16th November 2007
Glasgow v Viadana Hughenden (19:30)
Gloucester v Ospreys Kingsholm (20:00)
Bourgoin v Ulster Stade Pierre Rajon (20:00)

Saturday 17th November 2007
Newport-Gwent D'gons v London Irish Rodney Parade (13:30)
Treviso v Perpignan Stadio Comunale di Monigo (13:30)
Leicester v Edinburgh Welford Road (15:00)
Harlequins v Cardiff Blues The Stoop (15:30)
Biarritz v Saracens Parc des Sports Aguilera (15:30)
Llanelli Scarlets v Wasps Stradey Park (17:30)

Sunday 18th November 2007
Munster v Clermont Auvergne Thomond Park (13:00)
Bristol v Stade Francais Memorial Ground (15:00)
Toulouse v Leinster Stade Ernest Wallon (20:00)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Wales legend Ray Gravell dies

Raymond William Robert "Ray" Gravell (12 September 1951 – 31 October 2007) was a Welsh rugby union player who earned 23 caps for Wales as a centre.

More about Rugby career here

Smit hungry for European success

Springboks star John Smit fired an ominous warning to Heineken Cup heavyweights Wasps and Munster after French challengers Clermont Auvergne flexed their muscles for a major European title assault.
Clermont travel to face 2006 European champions Munster next weekend, before hosting Heineken Cup holders Wasps on December 8.

And judging by Clermont's 48-21 Pool Five demolition of Llanelli Scarlets - semi-finalists last season - Smit and company could take some stopping.

South Africa's victorious World Cup captain made his debut off the bench as tries from Aurelien Rougerie (3), Julien Malzieu, Julien Bonnaire, Brock James
and Thomas Domingo secured a bonus-point success.

Smit said: ``These guys are hungry to win this tournament, and we've made a great start.

``This is one of the most professional outfits I have ever been involved with.

``I was taken by surprise by the speed of the game. We had good offloads and good skills. This is an exciting new chapter for me.''

Llanelli, who entertain Wasps next Saturday, trailed 20-7 at half-time and ultimately had to content themselves with touchdowns by Dafydd James, Dwayne
Peel and Regan King.

Scarlets rugby director Phil Davies said: ``We gave ourselves some real momentum towards the end, but it was too late to change the result.

``We will need to look at our set-piece for next weekend. We lost four or five lineout balls.''

Former Wales flanker Martyn Williams has ruled out any prospect of ending his international retirement, despite the appointment of new coach Warren Gatland.

Gatland, who officially takes the Wales reins on December 1, was among a 10,500 Arms Park crowd as two-try flanker Williams inspired Cardiff Blues to a
34-18 victory over Pool Three visitors Bristol.

Williams, an obvious choice as man-of-the-match following a brilliant performance, said: ``My decision is made. I am not going to go back on my

Cardiff trailed 13-3 just before half-time, but they then scored 31 unanswered points, with centre Jamie Robinson and flanker Maama Molitika also claiming

It effectively leaves Bristol needing to beat tournament favourites Stade Francais at the Memorial Stadium next Sunday - or face the prospect of a pool
stage exit.

Bristol head coach Richard Hill said: ``The players are angry with themselves for letting the lead slip, but there is a positive attitude they can go and beat
Stade Francais.''

Saracens moved top of Pool Four, recording an anticipated bonus point success against Vicarage Road visitors Glasgow, but the final 33-31 scoreline was far
too close for comfort.

Saracens rugby director Alan Gaffney said: ``The attacking part of our game was very good and deserves to be rewarded, but the defensive part is leaving a
lot to be desired.

``It is not the structure, it is individual defence that is letting us down.

``The players have got to be accountable, and we will work very hard on it. We have to become much more ruthless and not concede soft tries.''

Hugh Vyvyan, Rod Penney, Ben Skirving and Kameli Ratuvou scored Saracens' tries, yet Glasgow secured a losing bonus point through three touchdowns and 16
points from the boot of fly-half Dan Parks.


iPhone System Information

Rugby bosses slapped me in the face

Jake White, the Springbok coach, will leave South African rugby bitterly disappointed and disillusioned by the lack of "loyalty, honesty and timing" that have been shown to him by his employers at the South African Rugby Union (Saru).

White's autobiography In Black and White - the Jake White Story is due on shelves this week and in it he details how he had to deal with the power struggles and personal vendettas that dominate South African rugby.

This week he told the Sunday Tribune he felt as though he had been "slapped in the face" by Saru after returning triumphantly from France having won the Webb Ellis Cup.

The Springboks had been named as the international team of the year, Bryan Habana was recognised as the best player of the year and White as the best coach in the world, yet White was summarily shown the door.

Saru, said White, had made up the excuse that he had not applied in time.


"I've always said timing, loyalty and honesty are not the key values of South African rugby, and that has never changed," said White.

"There's no history of any of those values in South African rugby ever and that's why I was so disappointed and that's why I made that press statement to announce that I would be leaving the Springbok job when my contract ended.

"Because it was the easiest thing for SA Rugby to tell the public that I didn't get the job because I didn't apply. Why don't they tell the public the truth? I didn't get the job because I was tired of fighting with people every single Saturday to keep my job. That's the simple truth. They didn't want to tell people that because they would look like the bad guys.

"Six months ago I felt I didn't have the energy to keep fighting every single weekend to show that I was doing my job. That's as simple as it was then. But as the World Cup unfolded and we won, well, things changed. People are allowed to change their minds; that's the way things work in life.

"When we got back and I read I wasn't on the shortlist because I hadn't applied, it felt like a slap in the face. It was literally an hour after we had finished the road show with the Webb Ellis Cup. The timing was awful. I was stunned."

In Black and White, the former school teacher tells of his upbringing in Johannesburg, his success with the South African Under-21 side, the hypocrisy and "media hype" that sprung up around the Luke Watson affair and his run-ins with, among others, Saru deputy president Mike Stofile.

White also writes about how he saved his job last year when he flew back to Cape Town from London to answer a call of "no confidence" in him in front of the Saru executive.

The lack of empathy and understanding that the executive had of rugby became evident when one president pulled out a clipping of "player ratings" cut out from the Afrikaans Sunday newspaper Rapport, and used it as evidence that White was not a good coach.

White convinced them that he was capable of winning the World Cup and writes that he saved his job that afternoon, despite a concerted campaign from one newspaper to get him fired.

"If the truth is controversial, then maybe the book is controversial, I suppose," said White.

"I'm not going to soften any blow because I had to fight a lot of negativity and people calling for my head. At times it was an uphill battle for me to keep my job. This is not a book in which I am trying to paint myself as the hero.

"I just wanted to portray what it was like in the last four years, what it felt like, what sort of pressure I was under and to say thank you to the guys who supported me."


White's future is uncertain. He wants to coach international rugby and has been linked with the England job, but right now a huge part of him is relieved that he is leaving Springbok rugby on a high.

"Kitch Christie (coach of the 1995 World Cup Springboks) said to me in 1995 that there is a time to go and a time to stay. Half of me wants to stay, the other half thinks, what more is there to achieve?

"Next time I lose a Test match the headlines are going to be: 'See, we told you he wasn't as good as you thought he was'. You have got to have the energy to fight against that sort of negativity, and I don't know if I can any more.

"It's nice to be normal for a while," smiled White.

"My kids actually asked me what I am doing next year and I told them that I am going to spend time with them, and they were so happy about that.

"Obviously things could change if I get another coaching job, but I told them that my first job for a while will be to fetch them from school and watch them play rugby, and for a father who loves rugby there can be no greater thing."

Highs and lows of Heineken Cup 2007-08
iphone - send multiple text

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A message to soccer

Man the f#ck up & take some pride in yourself.
Big rugby hits, big rugby tackles, big rugby fights.. you just gotta love it!!!!

"New Zealand's Online Men's Lifestyle Magazine"

Rugby v Soccer

Duo delighted with Springboks call

Uncapped prop Heinke van der Merwe, who plays for the Lions and the Cats, has been included in the South Africa squad for the clashes with Wales and the Barbarians.

In addition, Western Province utlity back Jantjes has been rewarded for his performance in this season's Currie Cup.

"It's a pleasant surprise," Jantjes told

"There was some speculation initially that I could perhaps have been in the squad for the World Cup tournament, which didn't happen, so I wasn't really holding thumbs for this tour.

"Of course I wouldn't have minded being called up five weeks earlier, but Percy did an outstanding job."

Jantjes made his test debut in 2001, and last played for South Africa in 2005.

The 22-year-old Van der Merwe was called up to replace Cobus Visagie while the Boks were in Australasia for the Tri-Nations series earlier this year but was not used in either clash.

"It's every player's dream to be picked for the Springboks and I'm very excited about my inclusion.

"I was at home playing TV games on Tuesday when I received the call (from Lions coach Eugene Eloff) to tell me I was in the Bok squad. I actually wasn't expecting it," Van der Merwe added.

It is a much-changed Springbok squad to that which clinched the World Cup in France last month.

Os Du Randt and Bob Skinstad have retired while Percy Montgomery, BJ Botha, Jean De Villiers and Pierre Spies are all injured.

Butch James, Gary Botha and Ashwin Willemse were not considered as they have all joined foreign club sides and were subsequently not released.

The Springboks will play Wales in Cardiff on November 24 and the Barbarians on December 1 at Twickenham in London.

The team gathers in Johannesburg on November 12 and leaves for Wales on November 16.

Squad: B Botha, S Burger, B Du Plessis, J Du Plessis, F Du Preez, J Fourie, B Habana, C Jantjes, R Januarie, W Julies, V Matfield, J Muller, A Ndungane, W Olivier, R Pienaar, JP Pietersen, A Pretorius, D Rossouw, J Smit (capt), J Smith, G Steenkamp, F Steyn, A van den Berg, W van Heerden, CJ van der Linde, H van der Merwe.

Tigers' Anglo-Welsh defence kicks off at The Rec
2008 High School National Championships

Loffreda backs Argentina to be seventh nation

Argentina should be invited to take part in an expanded Six Nations competition, according to the coach who guided the Pumas to third place in this year's Rugby World Cup. Marcelo Loffreda, the new head coach at Leicester, believes the European tournament would be the most suitable option as the sport looks at the best way to involve the South Americans on a more regular international basis.

"All Argentina's overseas players are playing in the northern hemisphere, so it would be impossible for them to be competitive in the Tri-Nations, which would be out of season," said Loffreda at his first press conference at Welford Road yesterday. Remarkably, he suggested Belgium, where Argentina had their pre-World Cup training camp, might be a better "home" base than Spain. "I think only in Argentina there would be real support, but there isn't the money. It is a circular problem, and at the moment we don't have the answer."

After eight years coaching his national team on a part-time, expenses-only basis, the 48-year-old civil engineer is the first Argentinian to take control at a professional European club. While admitting the size of the challenge, Loffreda - flanked by the two trophies held by the Tigers: the Guinness Premiership and the EDF Energy Cup - said he would draw on aspects of Argentina's successful amateur ethos in working with the Leicester players.

"Rugby is about passion, about responsibility, about commitment, about respect," said Loffreda. "It's not only about being good on the field, you have to be a very good player off the field too, and in many things off the field the amateur way is the good way. For the spirit of the team, to work as one part of a whole is really important."

He would like to bring Juan Martín Hernández, the Argentina stand-off who was one of the leading players of the World Cup, to Leicester, but pointed out that the 25-year-old still has 18 months of his contract left at Stade Français. Tigers' chairman, Peter Tom, after announcing plans to expand the ground capacity to 30,000, said the club was not currently negotiating to buy Hernández out of his contract.

However, Loffreda insisted that English players would continue to be the bedrock of the country's best-supported club. "I don't think this [team] has to be a selection of every country. You can add some outstanding players, but the base will be English," he said.

Nor should Tigers fans expect a sweeping change in style. "The staff here have done outstanding work, and I will rely on them. Maybe it will be the style as Leicester used to do it, maybe I will add some things - it depends on the opposition." On Saturday that will be Leinster in the opening match of the Heineken Cup, the one trophy they did not win last season.

Highs and lows of Heineken Cup 2007-08
Kelleher set for Heineken Cup debut
London 2012 Olympic Games stadium design unveiled

Monday, November 5, 2007

Highs and lows of Heineken Cup 2007-08

The former Wales captain will be the oldest player in the 13th season of the Heineken Cup with – entirely appropriately – Leicester Tigers’ scrum half Ben Youngs the youngest at just 18 years and 62 days when the Tigers launch their challenge against Leinster in Dublin on the opening Saturday.

And while there is close to a 20-year age gap between Llewellyn and Youngs – with Youngs less than two months old when Llewellyn made his Test debut – there is also a massive 70kgs difference between Biarritz Olympique and Tonga prop Mosese Moala and Stade Français Paris’ scrum half Terry Bouhraoua

Oldest: Gareth Llewellyn (Bristol Rugby) – DoB: 27/02/1969
Youngest: Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers) – DoB: 05/09/1989
Heaviest: Mosese Moala (Biarritz Olympique) – 135kgs / 21st 4lbs
Lightest: Terry Bouhraoua (Stade Français Paris) – 65kgs / 10st 4lbs
Smallest: Terry Bouhraoua (Stade Français Paris) – 1.67m / 5’ 6”
Tallest: Devin Toner (Leinster) – 2.10m / 6’ 11”

Elsewhere, three people bind the 13 Heineken Cup tournaments together – Anthony Foley, Guy Noves and Alain Rolland.

Munster legend Foley – who led the province to Heineken Cup final glory in Cardiff in 2006 - is the only player to have been selected for matches in all 12 seasons so far and is in the Munster squad again, hoping to add to his record 79 Heineken Cup appearances.

Toulouse coaching guru Noves – who has already guided the French giants to three titles – can boast six more tournament “appearances” than Foley having coached the club in all of their 85 tournament matches.

Next in line to Noves in the coaching hierarchy is former Scarlets and Wales coach Gareth Jenkins with 67 matches. Munster’s Declan Kidney has 62 matches under his belt with Munster and Leinster while Biarritz Olympique’s Patrice Lagisquet has been in charge of all 52 of their Heineken Cup matches.

RWC 2007 final referee Rolland was a player with Leinster in the first two seasons of the tournament, playing scrum half in one of the inaugural semi-finals among his five appearances. Now he is in fourth spot of the referees’ tournament appointments with 35 matches since he took his Heineken Cup referee’s bow in the match between Toulouse and Saracens in 2000.

Kelleher set for Heineken Cup debut

And while the triple Heineken Cup winners and Edinburgh are regular tournament opponents – this will be the 10th time they have collided – it is all brand new for Toulouse’s big name signing.

“The rugby in Europe is quite different to back home,” said Kelleher. “In New Zealand the rugby is a lot faster, but up here it’s a lot more physical and when it comes to the atmosphere, although the crowds aren’t always as big as you’d get back home, they make just as much noise. Playing in front of a big crowd over here must be absolutely amazing and something I’m looking forward to.

“I’ve watched a bit of Top 14 and have seen that there are some different styles of play, but Toulouse play a really similar style to the All Blacks, they like to keep the ball alive and playing all over the park and that’s something I’m really looking forward to doing.

“The Heineken Cup gets far more publicity in New Zealand than the Top 14, and for anyone who plays a lot of rugby in New Zealand they are inspired to play by the players in the Heineken Cup.

“I’m really looking forward to playing in it and now I’ve got one game under my belt and another one this weekend I should have settled in nicely before the Heineken Cup starts – I want to play well for the team and I want Toulouse to win the competition.

“With all the technology available to us these days It doesn’t take much to find out about the other teams in our pool. I’ve studied these teams before and I watched a lot of the Heineken Cup in New Zealand before I moved over and I know we’ve got three really tough teams in our group.

“Obviously I know a lot of the players through international rugby and I know the quality that all three sides have in their squads. Having said that, I want us to be real contenders in the Pool stages and, hopefully, earn a home quarter-final and then anything can happen.

“I guess the thing I’m really excited about is the atmosphere and the ambience which is around the ground. The fans here are really something special and, although we have great supporters back in New Zealand, the supporters here are really fanatical about their rugby and their teams.

“It’s really exciting being here. Like anything in life, things can get a bit stale and I find that I play my best rugby when I change things. I did that when I played for Otago. It started getting a bit stale living in the same place and playing for the same team and it was just a routine and there wasn’t much excitement so I changed the team and the atmosphere and it just grew my rugby.

“So, after playing many years of Southern Hemisphere rugby, I decided that it’s time for me to move on and set myself new goals and challenge myself outside New Zealand.

“That’s what I’m doing here and I can’t wait to get stuck in and particularly playing Heineken Cup. It’ll take me a month or so to really get into the routine and once I’ve conquered that I’ll be able to really get on top of my rugby.”

HEINEKEN CUP 2007 / 2008 - (All kick-offs LOCAL times)



Pool 1 Perpignan v Newport Gwent Dragons 21.00 Canal+ / Sky Sports*
Pool 2 Ulster Rugby v Gloucester Rugby 20.00 Sky Sports


Pool 1 London Irish v Benetton Treviso 15.00
Pool 2 Ospreys v Bourgoin 17.30 S4C**/Sport+/Sky Sports*
Pool 3 Stade Français Paris v Harlequins 14.35 Canal+
Pool 4 Viadana v Biarritz Olympique 14.30
Pool 5 London Wasps v Munster (Ricoh Arena) 17.30 Sky Sports / Sport+* / RTE**
Pool 6 Edinburgh v Toulouse 15.30 Sky Sports / FR2
Pool 6 Leinster v Leicester Tigers 13.30 Sky Sports / RTE**


Pool 3 Cardiff Blues v Bristol Rugby 13.00 Sky Sports
Pool 4 Saracens v Glasgow Warriors 15.00
Pool 5 ASM Clermont v Llanelli Scarlets 16.00 FR2 / Sky Sports