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DNAPlay
18-04-06, 01:58 PM
As posted on www.superrugby.co.za
This achievement is simply unbelievable, and shouldn't go unnoticed...




Crusaders three-quarter Caleb Ralph on Friday reaches one of the most remarkable centuries in the history of rugby when he plays his 100th consecutive game of Super Rugby.
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Ralph played his 99th game in a row (some as a substitute) for the Crusaders against the Cheetahs last weekend and will reach the 100 mark against the Western Force in Perth on Friday.

To mark his exceptional feat this week’s SuperWrap is dedicated to Ralph, a player who has not always received the recognition he deserves.

Ironically his run of a 100 straight games started when he represented the Blues in the 1998 Final (May 5, 1998) against the Crusaders. He joined the ‘Saders in 1999 and has played some part in every game since then – in a word “unbelieveable!”

Ralph made his Super Rugby debut for the Chiefs against Transvaal in Hamilton in 1997. He earned three caps for the Chiefs and then moved to the Blues where he was capped six times. Since 1999 he has thus played 98 consecutive games for the Crusaders and 99 on the trot; giving him a grand total of 107* Super 12 and Super 14 outings.

It is sometimes overlooked that Ralph is an All Black, boasting 13 caps. Hailing from Bay of Plenty he made the New Zealand Sevens team while still at school, going on to represent his country at the 1997 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Hong Kong.

He was just 20 years old when awarded his first All Black test cap against England in Auckland in 1998 and made a long overdue return to the side on last year’s Grand Slam tour.

Ralph's opening try in the RWC 2003 match against Canada was New Zealand's 100th try in Rugby World Cup tournaments.

*George Gregan remains the most prolific of Super players having moved his tally of caps to 120 in the weekend’s Australian derby between the Brumbies and the Waratahs. Other centurions are Anton Oliver (117), Stephen Larkham (107), Reuben Thorne (107), Ralph (107), Justin Marshall (105) and Chris Whitaker (103). Chris Latham (98) and Brendan Cannon (97) are next in line to reach the magical 100.

Week 10 of the Super 14 threw up an interesting phenomenon in the “Super XV” compiled by the staff who work on the SuperSport Zone’s comprehensive coverage of the tournament in that both locks are from South Africa, but not available to play for the Springboks.

Daniel Vickerman showed himself to be a real “go-to” man for the Waratahs and former Natalian Greg Rawlinson gave his best performance of the year for the Blues when he was expected to in the absence of All Black Ali Williams.

The other two South Africans in the overall side are the exciting young Shark JP Pietersen and tighthead prop BJ Botha, arguably the local player of the year thus far.

In deference to the fact that inside centre (second five-eighths) is a specialist position it was decided to go with Luke McAlister, who was outstanding at flyhalf for the Blues, at No12 to make way for both he and Dan Carter in the “Super XV.”

The “Springbok Barometer” yet again showed what a difficult job the Springbok selectors will have in two months’ time when it comes to picking the squad to take on the Scots and the French with a number of players being included simply because the position had to be filled rather than because of any outstanding play while in some others players were “selected” out of position.

The Super XV for Week 10:

15 Peter Hewat (Waratahs), 14 Wendell Sailor (Waratahs). 13 Stirling Mortlock (Brumbies), 12 Luke McAlister (Blues), 11 JP Pietersen (Sharks), 10 Dan Carter (Crusaders), 9 George Gregan (Brumbies), 8 Rodney So’oialo (Hurricanes), 7 George Smith (Brumbies), 6 Phil Waugh (Waratahs), 5 Daniel Vickerman (Waratahs), 4 Greg Rawlinson (Blues), 3 BJ Botha (Sharks), 2 Adam Freier (Waratahs), 1 Greg Somerville (Crusaders).

The Springbok Barometer for Week 10:

15 Johan Roets (Bulls), 14 Odwa Ndungane (Sharks), 13 Adrian Jacobs (Sharks), 12 Andries Strauss (Sharks), 11 JP Pietersen (Sharks), 10 Andre Pretorius (Cats), 9 Neil de Kock (Stormers), 8 Pedrie Wannenburg (Bulls), 7 AJ Venter (Sharks), 6 Jacques Botes (Sharks), 5 Bakkies Botha (Bulls), 4 Johan Ackermann (Sharks), 3 BJ Botha (Sharks), John Smit (Sharks), Deon Carstens (Sharks).

Match of the Week: The big game of the weekend also produced the best rugby. All we can say is that none of the South African sides, at present, have the skill, fitness or expertise to go one-on-one with either the Waratahs or the Brumbies.

Try of the Week: A touch of Campese, scored by Jacques Botes and made by JP Pietersen. How good it was to see a wing stand his man up with a little goose step, beat him on the outside (even it was Kleinjan Tromp!) and then race clear before making a superb skip pass inside, and to the right, to give the flying flanker a clear run to the line. Highly commended. Stirling Mortlock’s for the Brumbies after deft work by both George Gregan and George Smith.

You don’t say… As stupid intros goes this one from News 24 takes the cake. “The Springbok rugby selectors are dissatisfied with the performance of some of South Africa's top players and teams in the Super 14 series.” We certainly didn’t expect them to be satisfied!

Worst Hair in the tournament: Hurricanes lock Jason Eaton’s luxurious whiskers.

Huh? “The Nelson Mandela Metropole needs a top class rugby team to be stationed and operating out of our Metropole. Danny Jordaan publicly noted the importance of such a soccer side at a breakfast hosted in our Metropole on 10 April 2006.” Letter from the Port Elizabeth Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry (acronym PERCCI) to SA Rugby.

Carter tracker: Dan Carter’s haul of 28 points against the Cheetahs has moved up to seventh place on the all-time list of points scorers with 626. Ahead of him are Andrew Mehrtens (990), Matt Burke (959), Tony Brown (882), Stirling Mortlock (776), David Holwell (635) and Elton Flatley (629).

And the Jorrie goes to… None other than Springbok and Sharks skipper John Smit whose attempted chip over the top of a phalanx of Cats forwards right at the end of the game has gone straight into the “How not to” booklet we are compiling.

And the Schlepper goes to… Pietman van Niekerk for the brainless shoulder-charge on John Smit just after the above incident and right after he had received a foul play caution. It has to be asked: how did the Cats loosehead escape further sanction? NB: If a “Jorrie” commemorates a really shocking kick a “Schlepper” has been introduced in honour of Phil Kearns, who says it’s a well-known South African word, to spotlight really stupid play.

Butthead of the Week: Rua Tipoki, Rua Tipoki, Rua Tipoki. In the game that he scored the season’s first hat-trick of tries the Blues centre probably cost himself an All Black cap with his appalling assault on Force James Hilgendorf that left him with a fractured eye socket, a laceration over the left eyebrow and concussion. Tipoki, who left Jean de Villiers with an ugly gash to the face when he punched the Springbok last year, will have 16 weeks out of the game to contemplate his shocking attitude and all we can say is that finally we agree with something done by a New Zealand judicial panel.

Quote of the Week I: “I’ve always been a player who’s dynamic around the field, a player who could come on and lift up the others by creating this buzz ...” – Ollie le Roux modestly putting his much-capped career into perspective for the Sunday Times.

Quote of the Week II: “In my day rugby was dangerous and sex was safe!” – Frik du Preez, talks about the old times but James Hilgendorf would probably disagree.

Quote of the Week III: “If the system is not delivering you must change the system.” – Du Preez again but, hey, he’s only the rugby player of the millennium, what would he know?

The TRUTH
18-04-06, 02:29 PM
Planet Rugby's team of the week....

Here's our form XV for Week 10:

15 Isaia Toeava (Hurricanes):
In a team where you have world-class stars like Tana Umaga, Ma'a Nonu, Rodney So'oialo and Jerry Collins it is easy to disappear into the pack. But not Toeava put his hand up and made sure he was noticed.
Bubbling under: Peter Hewat (Waratahs)

14 Peter Hynes (Reds):
This young man has come through the ranks - Under-19, U21, Sevens and Australia 'A'. Now he is ready to make the step up to the Wallaby team.
Bubbling under: Lome Fa'atau (Hurricanes)

13 Morgan Turinui (Waratahs):
It is not just that brilliant, one-handed scoop-up try that he scored. On defence and attack he is busy establishing himself as Australia's form outside centre.
Bubbling under: Stirling Mortlock (Brumbies)

12 Julian Huxley (Reds):
He is probably not everybody's cup of tea, but against the brutish Bulls he showed that he can be finesse and physical. And then you can easily slot him in at fly-half if you need to.
Bubbling under: Matt Giteau (Brumbies)

11 Lote Tuqiri (Waratahs):
He was so well marked, but the manner in which he went through would-be tacklers to score his try (a crucial score at that) showed just what a great finisher he is.
Bubbling under: Scott Hamilton (Crusaders)

10 Luke McAlister (Blues):
Isa Nacewa did a very credible job in the previous two matches, but it was so obvious the difference McAlister made to the Blues' backline. Suddenly they looked like a team that could challenge for a place in the play-offs.
Bubbling under: Dan Carter (Crusaders)

9 Piri Weepu (Hurricanes):
There's certainly no shortage of quality scrum-halves in New Zealand and Weepu is busy working his way to near the top of the pile.
Bubbling under: Chris Whitaker (Waratahs)

8 John Roe (Reds):
His forwards have come in for a lot of criticism this season, but he chose the right time to stand up and show the way.
Bubbling under: Mose Tuiali'i (Crusaders)

7 George Smith (Brumbies):
Yes, he was penalised a number of times, but he remains the best when it comes to turning over ball and covering on defence.
Bubbling under: Phil Waugh (Waratahs)

6 Reuben Thorne (Crusaders):
He is not one of those players who you will notice running around the park and doing flashy things. But if you look very closely, you will notice that he is the one setting things up for the flashy players by doing the hard yards first.
Bubbling under: Troy Flavell (Blues)

5 Daniel Vickerman (Waratahs):
He is fast establishing himself as one of the premier locks in world rugby and will be crucial to the Wallaby cause this year.
Bubbling under: Brad Mika (Crusaders)

4 Mark Connors (Reds):
When you go up against a team that contains Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha, you are not expected to come away as a winner. Connors made his more illustrious opponents look rather ordinary.
Bubbling under: Alex Kanaar (Waratahs)

3 Carl Hayman (Highlanders):
There is a reason why he is the only player to return this week. He is simply one of the most consistent performers in the tournament, despite playing in and under-performing team.
Bubbling under: Rodney Blake (Reds)

2 Tone Kopelani (Crusaders):
Much of what makes the Crusaders such a brilliant team is that they do the basics so well. He also took a rare opportunity to start to show that he is a class act.
Bubbling under: Adam Freier (Waratahs)

1 Benn Robinson (Waratahs):
Last year Australian rugby was bemoaning the lack of quality props. This year a couple of youngsters have stepped forward, including young Robinson - who still played for Australia Under-21 last year. Now he is ahead of aging Bill Young and tubby Matt Dunning in the pecking order.
Bubbling under: Os du Randt (Cheetahs)

link (http://www.planet-rugby.com/Tournaments/Super_12/story_50474.shtml)

Almost a completely different team...

Just shows that neither of these websites know what the hell there talking about.

DNAPlay
18-04-06, 02:56 PM
Look, there's always gonna be a bit of bias when teams of this nature are made. Frankly, the team selection in the article is probably what I care about the least.

The TRUTH
18-04-06, 03:07 PM
Originally posted by DNAPlay@Apr 18 2006, 09:56 PM
Look, there's always gonna be a bit of bias when teams of this nature are made. Frankly, the team selection in the article is probably what I care about the least.
I didn't think your article was at all biased towards SA , although i dont know how try of the week didn't go to Sam Norton-Knight ........ that was the best try i've seen all year.


Butthead of the Week: Rua Tipoki, Rua Tipoki, Rua Tipoki. In the game that he scored the season’s first hat-trick of tries the Blues centre probably cost himself an All Black cap with his appalling assault on Force James Hilgendorf that left him with a fractured eye socket, a laceration over the left eyebrow and concussion. Tipoki, who left Jean de Villiers with an ugly gash to the face when he punched the Springbok last year, will have 16 weeks out of the game to contemplate his shocking attitude and all we can say is that finally we agree with something done by a New Zealand judicial panel.
[/b]

well said