Home 2013 January

Monthly Archives: January 2013

Cape Town Tens is here!


It’s here! The 5th instalment of The Castle Cape Town Tens kicks off tomorrow at Hamilton’s Rugby Club at 10am!

Lions announce team for Bulls game


MTN Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has announced the following team to take on the Vodacom Bulls in the Gauteng Cup, taking place this Saturday at Orlando Stadium in Soweto. Kick-off is at 15h00.

Bulls launch commemorative jersey to celebrate 75th anniversary


PUMA has designed a “vintage” commemorative and limited edition jersey to mark the 75th Anniversary celebrations of South African rugby legends The Bulls.

Duane leads Stormers


Allister Coetzee, the DHL Stormers head coach, has named his team to take on the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Saturday’s pre-season friendly in Bloemfontein (kick-off 17h00).

Stegmann leads Bulls against Lions


Vodacom Bulls flanker Deon Stegmann will lead the Vodacom Bulls on Saturday when they take on the MTN Lions in the Gauteng Rugby Cup at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.

Juan Smith returns to rugby


Springbok flank Juan Smith will make his long awaited return to rugby when the Cheetahs face the Stormers in a Super Rugby warm-up game in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Div’s UWC starts with a bang in Varsity Shield


Peter de Villiers made a winning start to his Varsity Shield career as his FNB UWC hammered FNB TUT 42-4 in their opening match of this year’s Varsity Shield.

Watson: ‘SARU unfair to exclude Lions’


Kings captain Luke Watson has said that SARU’s decision to relegate the Lions was unfair and expressed sadness at the Lions’ Super Rugby exit.

Kings responds to media speculation


The Southern Kings responded to media speculation that SA Rugby will not allow them to field more than 2 foreign players in their squad.

Saru sê nee vir Cheeky


Saru byt vas: Die Kings sal net twee oorsese spelers toegelaat word in die Superrugbyreeks – nie vyf nie.

Varsity Cup preview – Rugby that Rocks!


Our resident Varsity Cup expert and fan, Jacques, takes a look at what we can expect in this year’s competition.

Another Lion joins Stormers


Lions hooker Martin Bezuidenhout will join the DHL Stormers at the start of next week, as injury cover up front.

It’s time to move on from Super Rugby


When will SA Rugby realise that our future lies north, and not in an expanded Super Rugby tournament?

John Smit could play for Stormers


UPDATE: Allister Coetzee has dismissed reports indicating that former Springbok captain John Smit could turn out for the Cape franchise in this year’s Super Rugby competition.

Injuries forces Treu’s hand


Injuries to several key players have forced Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu to make three changes to his squad for the forthcoming HSBC Sevens World Series tournaments in New Zealand and the USA.

Opening rounds crucial for SA’s favourites


When it comes to picking the favourites to lead the South Africa conference the popular vote seems to be split between the Stormers and the Sharks.

The ‘hit’ is the problem after-all


A week or so back I (stupidly) decided to give my opinion in an area of the game very few know anything about, the scrum, but it seems by a shot of luck I might not have been far off!

My post ‘The hit is a miss’ dealt with issues at scrum time and suggested that the actual ‘hit’ in the scrum could be the root of all evil.  Well here is something I came across from someone that knows a hell of a lot more than I do on matters like this, and also provides some astonishing scientific data.

Scrum ‘hit’ is the problem after-all
The Roar – Jeznez

The ‘Hit’ in Rugby Union scrums has come under widespread criticism for a number of years now.

I have been arguing that it is players willfully collapsing which is the major issue, rather than the hit but new evidence is coming to light which suggests I am wrong.

The IRB sends regular emails to accredited coaches and the January installment arrived this week.

Included was a presentation by IRB Chief Medical Officer, Dr Martin Raftery titled “Scrum History, Scrum Force Project and Scrum Injuries”. The presentation cited a number of studies that have been predominantly conducted at Bath University.

In the history section the studies showed that between 1982 and 2004 the number of scrums per game went from an average of 31 to 19, a drop of 60%. This reduction has been maintained with the RWC of 2011 averaging 17 scrums per match.

During the 1982-2004 period the number of scrums won by the feeding team has stayed aligned going from 88% to 89%.

The biggest change reported was in relation to penalties. Back in 1982 scrum penalties were evenly distributed between the feeding and defending scrums. As of 2004 the side feeding the ball enjoyed a 6:1 advantage in having a penalty awarded to them.

Something has drastically changed if the defensive side has become six times more likely to give away a penalty at scrum time.

The presentation also compared the 2003 Rugby World Cup to the 2011 version. The latest RWC had twice as many scrum collapses and twice as many penalties compared to 2003.

The 1995 RWC was also compared to 2011 with an even bigger difference; there are now three times as many collapses and four times the penalties.

An analysis of the scrums in the 2011 World Cup showed that there are an average of 17 scrums per game; half of these are won cleanly, a third collapse and the remaining 20% result in a penalty or free kick.

This seems to be a first world problem though. A review of the pool matches showed that when two Tier 1 teams played each other the stats are much worse than if two Tier 2 teams play each other.

The 2011 RWC Pool Matches break down as follows; these are average results per 100 scrums.

Tier 1 v Tier 1 – Collapse = 50, Re-Set = 31, Penalty/FK = 41
Tier 1 v Tier 2 – Collapse = 34, Re-Set = 17, Penalty/FK = 29
Tier 2 v Tier 2 – Collapse = 19, Re-Set = 9, Penalty/FK = 17
6 Nations – Collapse = 54, Re-Set = 30, Penalty/FK = 44
Tri Nations – Collapse = 43, Re-Set = 25, Penalty/FK = 25

The Tri Nations numbers are surprisingly good but it could be argued that South Africa and Australia have been scrummaging at a Tier 2 level so skew the results.

Finally the studies showed that scrums are taking up more than their fair share of the game. Scrums make up 8% of all contested events in the game but consume 17.5% of total playing time.

All the above points to scrums materially being an issue today compared to prior eras, and an issue at the highest level compared to lower tiers. It doesn’t pinpoint the ‘Hit’ or show that my defence of it was wrong. The next section of the presentation addressed that.

Bath University has conducted extensive studies measuring forces on scrum machines. With the assistance of the RFU they were able to gain participation from International, Elite Professional, Community, Adolescent, Women and U/18 teams.

The study focused on:

Peak Engagement Force (PEF) being the maximum force generated on impact.
Sustained Compression Force (SCF) being the force maintained after impact.
Lateral and Vertical forces.

They looked at a number of engagement methods from the Crouch, Touch, Engage (CTE) to Passive, including the variations of hitting and holding versus double shoves, amongst others.

The key finding is that the PEF which measures the force on the ‘Hit’ is twice what it was 20 years ago. PEF are also twice as large as the SCF.

The International and Elite packs generated significantly higher PEF, even after normalising for their greater mass. It was deemed that the speed of engagement these professional packs were able to generate led to the difference.

The PEF on a normal engagement are twice as large as that on a ‘passive’ engagement. All engagements, including passive produced similar levels of SCF.

Passive engages involved reducing the engagement speed by between 55-75% compared to a normal one and as well as a 50% reduction in the Peak Engagement Force, the downward Vertical force was reduced by 20%.

Given the twin pieces of evidence that the peak engagement force in scrums is twice what it used to be and that this is a particular issue at the elite levels. We need to revisit the engagement method to get rid of the blight of collapses and penalties on the game.

The new Crouch, Touch, Set engagement call that has been introduced is an improvement with the removal of the Pause and change to a single syllable pack call. However it does nothing to address the distance between packs, and does not limit the speed at which engagement occurs.

These are the two key areas that need addressing. The IRB’s Scrum Unit is due to release more information and recommendations shortly so we can expect to hear more on this during the year.

Moves to curb doping at schools


Children who use banned performance-enhancing drugs in school sports could face expulsion from Monday, the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) said.

Steroïde: Skole onder die loep


Rugbyspelers aan van die land se voorste sportskole gaan vir onwettige steroïede en ander verbode middels getoets word.

SA Sevens Boys claims GOLD at Youth Olympics


The South African Under-18 men’s team won the Sevens gold medal at the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney on Saturday morning (SA time) after defeating host nation Australia 22-7 in the final.

Russian team for Lions Challenge


The Golden Lions Rugby Union, on behalf of Rugby Union Russia, would like to announce the 23-man Russian Bears outfit that will face the MTN Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday. Kick-off is at 19h00 and the match will be televised live on Supersport 1.

Baby Blitzies tops in Oz after Day 1


The South African Under-18 Men’s team dominated the first day of the sevens competition of the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival, held at the St Ignatius College on Friday morning in Sydney (SA time).

Racism and rugby


Quite powerful isn’t it?  I also thought so when I was asked to write about it.

SA U/20 squad named for UWC match


Junior Springboks coach Dawie Theron on Thursday named the starting line-up for the SA Under-20 training squad’s match against the University of the Western Cape (UWC), to be played on Friday afternoon at the Markötter Sports Field in Stellenbosch. Kick-off is at 16h00.

Lions team for Russia


MTN Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has announced the following team to take on the Russian Bears in the inaugural Lions Challenge match this Saturday at Ellis Park. Kick-off is at 19h00.

Burger confirmed as Stormers captain


A fit again Schalk Burger will once again lead the Stormers for the 2013 Super Rugby campaign.

Club rugby entering new era


SARU CEO Jurie Roux said on Wednesday that club rugby was on the brink on a new era as the one-month countdown began to kick off in the inaugural SARU Community Cup.

Video killing the Rugby star?


Rugby just would not be rugby if we went into a new year without some law changes or amendments, and the boys at the IRB and SANZAR did not disappoint.

Morne will be leaving Bulls


Springbok flyhalf Morne Steyn will be leaving the Bulls at the end of the 2013 Vodacom Super Rugby season.

Lions confirm squad for Challenge series


The Lions released the names of 35 players that will make up their squad to compete in the Lions Challenge Series starting this weekend against Russia.

Rugby Championship draw confirmed


SANZAR today announced the full draw for The Rugby Championship’s second year, kicking off with a popular clash between the Wallabies and 2012 season’s winners, the All Blacks, at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Saturday 17 August.

Kings suffer 1st injury setback


Conraad Johannes (Boetie) Britz has been called up to the Southern Kings squad following Hannes Franklin’s knee injury sustained during practice last week.

This Lion will roar


It is not often that I get a warm, fuzzy feeling when I read something about administration in South African rugby, but the guts and determination of the Golden Lions Rugby Union who is arguably facing their biggest crisis in their 100+ year history is something that deserves more than just an honourable mention.

More Mallett on the box


It seems Nick Mallett will continue to prioritise his budding career as a television pundit, ahead of any possibilities as a coach or perhaps director of rugby somewhere.

Stormers name training camp squad


DHL Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee on Friday revealed a 36-man squad for next week’s pre-season camp in Hermanus ahead of the 2013 Vodacom Super Rugby tournament which kicks-off late next month.

Habana confirms Toulon move


After news broke earlier in the week that Springbok and Stormers wing, Bryan Habana is negotiating with French club Toulon, the winger confirmed that he has signed a pre-contract agreement.

Lions unveil new tournament


The Golden Lions Rugby Union was thrilled to officially launch the much anticipated Lions Challenge series in Johannesburg on Thursday afternoon.

Many changes in Super Rugby


SANZAR on Thursday announced that halftime breaks for the 2013 Vodacom Super Rugby season would be extended to 12 minutes.

Olivier might miss start of SR season


The Bulls gets a taste of what the Stormers had to put up with following news that Wynand Olivier might miss the start of their Super Rugby campaign due to his Japanese club advancing in their domestic competition.

Bismarck to miss start of Super Rugby


Bismarck du Plessis will miss the start of the Super Rugby tournament which kicks off in mid-February.

In aid of the King


The foundation from which our deep routed passion and love for rugby is built on in South Africa comes from a long and very proud history of our domestic teams.

CSA demands more black players


Half the Proeas test side is not white – and there on merit – but its not good enough.Transforamtio MUST include Black Africans.

Springbok schedule for 2013


The Springboks will end off a busy international season with a tour to Scotland, Wales and France in Europe in November this year, while the venues for the first two Springbok Tests of 2013 have been reversed to avoid an event clash.

Limpopo to play in Vodacom Cup


Limpopo will play in the Vodacom Cup as a separate team for the first time when this 16-team competition kicks off on the second weekend of March.

It is Ellis Park again


Things appear to be going from bad to worse for the beleaguered Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) with the news that stadium sponsors Coca-Cola have opted not to renew their sponsorship in 2013.

No place for Mangweni, Stick in Kings squad


One of Eastern Province rugby’s stalwarts, Tiger Mangweni, has failed to make the cut for the Southern Kings’ Super Rugby squad.

The hit is a miss


This time of year rugby lovers (in the Southern Hemisphere) are forced to sit through the best Europe has to offer if they want their weekly rugby union fix and it has been interesting in some aspects to see what is happening up North.

Junior Boks training squad named


South Africa Under-20 head coach Dawie Theron on Monday named 34 players for the latest training camp in preparation for the IRB Junior World Championships to be played in France in June. The Junior Springboks will defend the title won in South Africa last year.

Are refs just making stuff up?


It has long been suspected that referees are guessing when it comes to calls at scrum or ruck time, but blatantly making laws up as they go along?

Sharks opts for easy warm-up games


The Sharks will play friendly games against local sides, the Leopards and Pumas, as part of their Super Rugby preparations.