How to decide when to cancel training and some power training tips

How to decide when to cancel training

By Dan Cottrell, head coach of Better Rugby Coaching and coaching e–magazine Rugby Coach Weekly.

Consider the pros and cons of training in wet weather before you make the decision to cancel training.



You want players to come back next week. If they are cold and wet from a previous session they may not be motivated to return and parents might be influenced by a wet player and muddy kit.


Players cannot catch a slippery ball. Contact skills are also compromised by wet weather because players lose their footing.

The pitch

Groundsmen will tell you the damage done to pitches in wet weather can take a long time to recover from because it is not prime growing season during the rugby months.



You can make wet weather sessions fun and build team spirit. Kids love mud and it can be an excuse to move away from a mundane training session and try something completely different.


You have to play in the rain, so practise the skills you need. Players get to understand the limits of what they can do. If you are going to train in the rain, stick to the S–S–S plan: Short, Sharp, Scarper.

Coach players to fall correctly

By Ian Diddams, RFU coach tutor with over 20 years experience in coaching at grassroots level.

Minis coaches spend much of their time teaching young players the art of tackling – but there are always two sides to every tackle.
The attacker should be maximising his chances of retaining the ball, this requires good falling and presentation skills.


While holding the ball in two hands from a standing position, players fall on command to the ground absorbing the impact with their knees, hips and shoulders while preventing the ball from hitting the ground.

They should tuck the elbows in to prevent jarring.

As they fall, ensure they end up facing their own team mates in order to present the ball cleanly.


Build up speed from standing to walking, to jogging and finally to running. Emphasise the need to absorb the fall to keep the ball.


Strengthen your position before contact

A strong body position at the contact situation allows the player to exert the “maximum shove”. The principles remain the same for scrums, rucks or mauls. This session concentrates on the moments just before contact, highlighting the need to be in position quickly and efficiently.

Tell your players the purpose of this session is…

Getting into a strong body position just before contact.
Bending at the hips and knees with the head in neutral position for “maximum shove”.

1. Start by…

Correct body positions

The player stands straight, neck neutral. He bends at the hips, then the knees.


2. And then…

Maximum shove in contact

Each pair works for 30 seconds. One player hits alternate bags six times whilst the other passes.

They then swap.The reason for two simultaneous activities is…

Keeps mind alert by switching from ball skill to physical test.
Replicates game situation.
Decision–making becomes more difficult as tiredness creeps in, again replicating game situation.

3. The game…

Maximum shove game


4 players attack 3 defenders. They attack one way, then the other if they score a try or fail.

Things to think about…

How near to the contact situation should players get before bending?

It is better to bend early to avoid being too high before the contact situation. Sometimes players can touch both hands on the ground, which helps them “square up.” However, the player needs to be balanced so he can react to the changing contact situation in front of him.

How quickly should a player approach the contact situation?

Avoid long run–ups to the contact situation in training because this rarely happens in the game. Players are better off slowing down and using leg drive from a strong position to create go–forward at the contact. It is better to be accurate rather than quick.

6 powerful exercises for a more forceful team

Rugby requires the execution of skill in motion, and almost all of these motions become more effective when executed with more force in less time. Power may be described as the optimal combination of speed and strength to produce a dynamic rugby movement such as a ferocious tackle or a great offload.

Power exercises must involve a rapid initiation of force production – even if the load is heavy, your aim is still to perform the movement quickly.

Systems of Power Training

Power training is characterised by long recovery periods (3 – 10 minutes) between sets of exercises to allow for the replenishment of the anaerobic energy (phosphocreatine).

Your major training options for power development are:

Power Speed Sled – towing a weighted sled over short distances
Weighted Vest – accelerating and jumping drills while carrying an extra weight created by the vest.
Medicine Balls – explosive throws with medicine balls weighing between 1–10kg
Power Speed Resistor – partner resisted drills using a harness
Plyometrics – see below
Olympic lifting – see below. Just treat the word Olympic as “power!”
Olympic lifts are multi–joint exercises that involve all major muscle groups, similar to most rugby movements. More players and coaches are turning to the Olympic lifts and their variations to enhance power. They are ground–based exercises so you have to exert force against the ground, which is specific to rugby.



When performed correctly, these exercises constitute one of the best ways to develop power, which successfully transfers to rugby. By their nature, all Olympic style lifts provoke a high power output as they allow you to move a relatively heavy weight at a high speed.

Fact file: Extremely high power outputs are generated during Olympic lifts.


Plyometrics are jumps or combinations of jumps that produce quick, powerful movement using a stretch reflex. A stretch reflex occurs when a muscle lengthens (stretches) and then immediately shortens – the reflex action occurs when the muscle changes from the lengthening to the shortening action. These drills are a specific training mode for rugby because the movements replicate the game’s mixture of vertical and horizontal acceleration against the ground and the triple extension of the ankle, knee, and hip joints. Plyometric drills enhance power, speed, and agility.

Plyometrics may be introduced only after you have successfully completed a core stabilization and strength phase of training. So that these drills will also help to prevent ankle and knee injuries, multidirectional movements are incorporated to reflect the multidirectional nature of rugby. These drills have a strong proprioceptive component (they challenge balance and the self–awareness of muscles and joints) and positively affect agility, coordination, and stability strength.

Top tip: More players and coaches are turning to the Olympic lifts and their variations to enhance power.


Play to attack from a midfield scrum

This move is an excellent play to attack from a midfield scrum, this can occur when the opposition have made a kick off error. I can clearly remember my U18 school team using this to great effect to score the winning try against an unbeaten side. I think you will find some success with it too…

Best from

A scrum in the middle of the pitch. Normally this happens when an opposition kick off goes straight out or does not go 10 metres.


Why it works

The play goes right. Since the opposition 9 normally stands on the left of your scrum, he is taken out of the game.
Since there is plenty of room either side of the scrum, stacking the backs on one side forces the opposition to match up.
If it is well executed, even if the opposition spreads their defence evenly, a strong running 15 can cause a lot of damage.

Good if you have

A good scrum.
A 12 or 13 with a good long pass from left to right.
A strong running 15 who likes to attack from deep.

What players should do

10 takes the ball standing still and runs sideways towards 12. He passes to 12 who is running the other way.
12 runs in the opposite direction to 10 to take the switch pass. He then passes across to 15.
15 starts behind the scrum and runs on a wide angle to his right to take the pass from 12.
14 stays wide to keep his opposite man occupied.

Common mistakes

10 takes the ball up too far, allowing the opposition 9 to intercept the pass.
10 and 12 don’t switch early enough, allowing time for the opposition back row to get in between the passes.
12 does not pass the ball far enough in front of 15. He needs to draw the receiver onto the pass.

Think about

12 cross kicking for 14.
15 and 14 performing a switch pass.

Rugby quotes

“Jonah Lomu was a giant of a man who leaves a giant space in world rugby. He will forever be a big part of rugby’s story”

Bernard Lapasset, World Rugby chairman.



Dan Cottrell


A tribute to Jonah Lomu -rugby coaching tips.

Hi Coach,

It was a great shock to read about the death of Jonah Lomu. Many of the tributes have rightly said how he changed rugby in a time when it was on the cusp of professionalism.

He inspired many to take up the game, though few would have wanted to be opposite him! His legacy is that all big wingers in the future will be compared to him. Currently Julian Savea and George North might be seen as the “new” Lomus. But, no one really believes that he will be matched.

The All Blacks used him as a strike runner from a number of moves. As a tribute to Lomu, we are today reproducing the “Lomu pop”, which took advantage of his excellent timing. He was more than just a big man moving quickly.

Along with the rest of the rugby world, our thoughts go out to his family and friends. A true giant in the game. RIP Jonah Lomu.


The Lomu pop


This great backs move uses the skills embodied by late Jonah Lomu. A clever way to bring a winger into the game, but this move needs a skilful 10 to release the ball almost “blind” to the winger.

Why it works
The first “dummy switch” will hold the player marking 10. 10 can then straighten up to attack the player who was marking 12. n
With 13 drifting out, it should create the space for 11 to go through the gap between 10 and 13.
Good if you have

A 10 who is a good timer of the “blind pass” and has played quite a bit with 11.
A strong running 11.
Already performed a “switch” with 12.
An opposition 12 who is a weak tackler.
What players should do

10 goes forwards then moves sideways, performs a “dummy switch” with 12, before “popping” the ball to 11.
12 moves on a “dummy switch” with 10.
13 starts close to 12 and then moves wide to allow 11 to move through the gap.
11 starts behind 10 and then “arcs” out to appear just outside 10’s shoulder to take a “pop pass”.

Common mistakes

12 runs too early and does not interest the defence.
10 passes the ball too early to the winger, so there is no element of surprise. 10 should also be looking to hide the ball when performing the “dummy switch”.
11 stands too close to 10 before the move starts. 11 must come from as far away as possible without compromising the arrival time.
Think about

10 stopping at the “tackle line” and almost moving backwards before passing the ball.
10 stepping in just before the pass to create a little more space for 11.
13 starting wide anyway to try to create the gap.

Rugby quotes

“Looking back, my whole life seems so surreal. I didn’t just turn up on the doorstep playing rugby; I had to go through a whole lot of things to get there.”

The late Jonah Lomu, former New Zealand rugby player, generally regarded as the first true global superstar of the rugby union.


Dan Cottrell


Tips for coaches and supplement advice.

Reflecting back on an exciting World Cup, it was interesting to note that one of the sides who most surprised us, Japan, surprised us in a most interesting manner.

While we all marvelled at the offloading skills of the top nations, the Japanese resolutely refused to pass out of the tackle. Eddie Jones, their coach, realised that they weren’t going to dominate the contact area. Instead, they concentrated on excellent footwork skills and passed before contact.

Simple agility practice

by Eamonn Hogan

Agility, or the ability to avoid being tackled, needs to be practised.

Game–related activities are always a great option but, sometimes, you need to break down the skill to the basics and the best way to do this is ask your players to do a sidestep, a swerve or even a spin, in isolation.

Running around cones is the simplest way to test these skills but cones, however convenient, do have limited uses because they can be stepped over.

A training pole cannot. Here are some tips for getting the most from training poles.


Swerve past angled training poles without touching them to make steps more pronounced

Have an end point

If you ask your player to run to the training pole and sidestep to the right, don’t let him stop there. Place a cone or even another training pole that he must run to. Just as in a match, stepping into space is good but having the ability to sprint out of it is also important.

Maximum effort

If you wish players to run around several training poles, have the start and finish line at the same place. If you allow a player to simply run out and walk back, they will delay the progress of your session.

Make pole to pole competitive

Having set out a course of poles, set out a matching one next to it and ask two players of similar ability to race each other.

Also, if they touch the training pole, it means they have not completed the skill correctly as you are working on an evasion skill.


Once you have decided where you wish to place the poles for the session, try leaning some of them to the left or the right.

In a race, the more agile children will bend at the knees, lower their body position and sprint back to you. This is great training for taking the ball into contact, allows them to use their leg muscles to generate power and also works on evasion skills.

Develop footwork with this easy star–shaped drill

by Dan Cottrell

Use a star shape to help players develop footwork skills. A star has sharp corners, meaning turns are hard and players have to accelerate away from almost a standing start.

Star shapes can be part of the warm–up in which players can perform a rugby–related exercise in a box and then run into the star, do some footwork movements and then run out again.

Mark out a 5m square with a cone in the middle as pictured. Place a speed ladder 2m outside the box that will serve as the finishing point.

The player begins on the cone in the middle and runs out to touch all four corner cones, returning to the centre cone each time.

Next, the player runs out to the speed ladder and sprints through the ladder.

Emphasise players taking two steps out to the corner cones, staying low and performing quick, explosive changes of direction.


Players change direction through the central cone then finish on the sprint ladder

The player can carry a ball to the first cone and back, put it down in the middle before running out and back to the next cone, picking up the ball and carrying it for the next leg and so on.

You can also have two players running at the same time, with one player a corner behind, aiming to catch up the other player.

They will have to avoid each other when touching the middle cone, meaning they will be looking up as well as running hard.

Pressure game to mimic match day

Start off passing in any direction to keep possession while defenders pressurise, then call a numbered try line. Attackers have to realign and all touch the ball before a try can be scored.

Set up

Set up two 20m squares side by side. Inside each square, place an equal number of attackers and defenders – between 6 and 10. Number the sides of the square 1–4.


The rules

Attackers pass the ball between themselves while the defence tries to intercept.


If an intercept occurs, the sides swap roles and the defenders become attackers.

When a side is called, the defence stands still – in our example “3” is called.

Attackers from both squares must score a try on the called side with every player handling the ball.


The try–scoring pass must be backwards but can be lateral, switch, miss or any other type of pass you would be happy for your players to perform in a match Defenders, although not allowed to move, can intercept the ball if it is passed to near to them.


The winners are the team that has all of their players handle the ball and score the try first. A forward pass or dropped ball is an automatic win to their opponents.

Tell your players…

“Loud and informative, calling for the ball.”

“Movement throughout the square must be sharp.”

“Realign in attack to get behind the ball once a number is called.”

Coaching tips

Here is a pressure game where the requirements for success can change in a heartbeat – just like in a real match.

Supplement advice

Several supplementary aids, such as creatine and isotonic sports drinks, have been proven to enhance performance in specific elements of rugby fitness. However, many products make misleading promises.

Always check the following before using a supplement:

Is the substance banned by the International Olympic Committee?
Are there any short– or long–term side effects to usage?
Is there scientific support for the supplement’s purported benefits?
Who recommended the product to you?
Dedication to a sound nutritional plan and a well–designed training regimen are your primary means of meeting your energy requirements.

However, the following are supplements that many elite rugby players regularly use:

Protein powder to boost protein intake and recovery from strenuous exercise
Creatine to support recovery from anaerobic training
BCAA, branch chained amino acids, for building muscle
Glutamine to boost the immune system and prevent the breakdown of muscle
Glucosamine and cod liver oil to support the building and repair of cartilage and other supporting structures
Vitamins and minerals, the need for which should be met by a well-balanced diet, but you may want to add them as a supplement if your diet is poor and your training levels are high

Fact file

Several supplementary aids, such as creatine and isotonic sports drinks, have been proven to enhance performance.

3v3 game for fitness and passing accuracy

Three–on–three touch rugby places the onus on the attack. Players have to work extra hard to make overlaps or get into space. With only one tackle and quick turnovers, there is a premium on fitness and accuracy in this game.
Set up

Players: 3 v 3.
Area: 20m wide, 10m long box.
Equipment: One ball.

Game notes

Use only touch tackles, with a two handed touch below the waist. Don’t allow kicking.
Restart the game for infringements, with the noninfringing team starting with the ball on their own try line.
Let the game run for one minute, and then rest. You can have more than one game going at once.

BRC_i836f BRC_i836e


1 point for a try.
What to call out

“Pass and move”
“Keep running back to run forward in support”
“Talk up in defence”

Coaching notes

Players will discover clever ways of keeping the ball alive. It won’t necessarily help their “go forward” skills, but it will improve their handling and fitness. The game will be more popular than a normal fitness workout.
If you have more than one box going (which is likely), then you can swap teams around and play for a longer period of time.

Rugby quotes

“I’m so proud of the team. To win back–to–back World Cups is a dream come true – it’s a special feeling to be part of such a great team.”

Dan Carter, All Blacks fly–half on winning the World Cup.

Dan Cottrell’s Rugby tactics made simple.

The secret solution to motivating young players

Improved attendance at training

More skilful players

More tries scored

Fewer tries conceded

Greater discipline

Better team work

Dear Coach,

As coaches we are constantly working towards a goal. And as soon as that goal is reached we set off to reach another.

Whether that’s winning our first match, making more tackles, scoring more tries or simply making sure that our players are having fun, we face a constantly changing set of goals.

And as we work towards each goal we’re trying to lead a group of others with us. A group that is not always that easy to manage!

They have trouble taking on new information. They have a limited attention span. Sometimes they don’t even know what team they’re on. Sometimes they don’t even show up.

Getting them to do anything is difficult. Everything becomes a problem.

So what do you do if you want your players to achieve something but you don’t know how to motivate them?

Every solution needs a problem… this was mine

I went through a period where having planned my session I’d turn up at training to find that I only had a handful of players present?

It was a frustrating time and probably the lowest point in my coaching “career”.

My wife could recite what I would say when I get home word-for-word. “I’ve had it”, I would moan, “why should I waste my time if the commitment isn’t there?”

I didn’t know what to do…

I couldn’t keep delivering my speech on the importance of training.

The players’ parents all gave their excuses. Some blamed their kids – “he didn’t seem bothered about missing it”. Some blamed themselves – “I didn’t realise it was important”. A few blamed me – “you’re not giving him a reason to attend”.

I don’t like the blame game. The way to react to a problem is to learn a lesson and find a solution.

I had to find a way to make my players bothered about whether or not they went training. I needed to give them a strong enough reason to attend. I wanted them to be ceaseless in their efforts to get to training come hell or high water.

So I went searching and I found one.

And as well as solving my particular problem, it showed me the secret to motivating my young rugby players to achieve all manner of things.

“I thought the parents would laugh at me when I suggested using them [but] the feedback I got was overwhelmingly positive.”

So, what is my simple solution? The secret to motivating young players to achieve?

Simple – one inch patches.

I bought a supply of patches and built a reward system around them to encourage my players to turn up whatever the weather and whatever other distractions might fight for their attention.
They might not seem like much to look at, but in the eyes of a child they are priceless.

“It is amazing what a little thing like a patch can do.”

What motivated you as a child?

I remember when I was younger my swimming trunks became a wearable trophy cabinet. 10m, 25m, bronze, silver, gold. Every patch I got was sewn on to them. It’s a wonder I didn’t drown from the weight of patches.

Then I started going to scouts. I remember proudly displaying my patches down the sleeves of my shirt.

Young players are not modest about their achievements. They want them to be recognised. These rugby patches allow them to show their achievements to everyone they meet.

As adults, the idea of showing off to our friends about how often we’ve gone to work might sound bizarre. But remember, you shouldn’t be asking yourself if patches motivate you. Will they motivate a five year old, an eight year old, or an eleven year old?

And I can tell you the answer: they will.

How do motivational patches work?

The success of using patches boils down to how young children are motivated.

It’s carrot rather than stick. A reward for attending training – no matter how good you are at rugby.

Children understand rewards. Do something well and a reward will follow – sweets, a story at bedtime, an extra hour of TV.

Parents use these rewards all the time. Why? Because they work.

The key to the success of motivational patches is that they are used exclusively for YOU to give to YOUR players.

Coaches often use sweets to reward players. But there’s nothing rugby-specific about them. If the reward can be got elsewhere and more easily, you can bet the kids will opt for the easy alternative.

You must use the patches sparingly. They have to be made valuable, sought after. If a coach sprays them around like confetti they can soon lose their appeal.

By using motivational patches you’ve carved yourself a niche. You just need to set the rules and
off you go.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? So how did I do it?

A patch for every occasion

“D” for Defence and Determination

The “Big D” patch is in blood red… the toughest, bravest, most determined colour. A bold, tough, intimidating “D” for defence. A “D” with “Determination” for players who say, “I Am Not Going to Give Up” even when they’re losing heavily.

Players who carry on going for tackles even though they’re faced by a much faster or bigger opponent. Players with backbone who maybe don’t get the reward they deserve.

“T” for Team Work

Rugby is a team game. Team work is essential to winning games.
I use the “T” patch to encourage this behaviour in my team and not just on the field – helping to carry equipment, being welcoming to new players, not complaining about playing out of position, allowing a team mate the opportunity to score.

The “Big T” can be a great way to encourage bigger players or faster runners to play for their team mates, not just themselves. Or to make sure players compete fully for the whole match, to support every attacking break, to cover every defensive error.

The “T” patch can be a great motivator to encourage players to share responsibility for defeat as well as the plaudits for the victory.

“A” for Attack

If your team isn’t scoring many tries, then use the “A” patches to motivate your players to do the things that can produce scores.

Examples of behaviour you might want to encourage are: running straight, running for gaps, avoiding contact, supporting the player with the ball, passing to a player in a better position (and not just to their best mate), stealing the ball in an attacking position, being alert to counter attacking opportunities, being aggressive, aware and busy.

“V” for Victory

The victory patch speaks for itself. If your team is struggling you can award the “V” patch for every victory. If you regularly win, save the “V” patch for the big victories – last minute winners, beating the league leaders, winning the cup, coming from behind to win…

Speed – Lightning Bolt

The lightning bolt is excellent for all things speedy, and not just for your fast runners. Reacting first to a dropped ball, getting quickly into position at rucks, attempting a quick restart, having “quick hands” and passing the ball at pace.

Attitude – Smiley Face

Smile! Everybody’s favourite patch, the smiley face can be awarded for just about anything you like. Not being downhearted when the team loses, getting up and carrying on after a knock, or simply playing with a smile on your face! The choice is yours.

Stars – Attendance and Mastering a Skill

You can use “Star” patches to reward just about anything.

I like to use them to encourage my players to come to training, as well as to make progress with their skills. For instance, I may give them to players who learn a new skill or exhibit the skill in a match.

Using targets with the Stars works really well, as each player can then have a different goal. For instance, Stars are a great way to encourage a weaker passer to practise passing left and right. Meanwhile, you might want a stronger passer to develop their skills by working harder on the spin or torpedo pass, or another area of the game completely.

You can also make the rewards game-oriented. So, you might award a Star to a player for completing 10 passes in a match, or to a player who rarely scores for getting a try, or to your full back for not fumbling the high ball, or to your fly half making a tackle on their big forward.

Players need to know “the rules”, so I give them each a sheet at the start of the season. This way
they are aware of what they are working towards and there are no questions at the end of the season.

I also make sure I take a quick register of attendance in my notepad to avoid doubt of who
was at training.

“I thought my 12-year olds might be too old for the patches,
but I thought I would give it a try. They love them!”

What do the kids do with the patches?

The patches have a glued back that reacts to heat. This means they can be easily applied with a household iron to t-shirts, shorts, bags and banners. Or they can be sewn on.

Kids love the opportunity to show off the patches, especially if they’ve managed to build a bigger collection than their friends.

The patches really look good on the players’ shirts, shorts, bags, caps, on a team banner near each player’s name, or on a team “sandwich board” at practices so all the players can see their progress.

Another idea is to let the players put them on the training top they wear to practice, to the season end party, after the game, during warm-ups if they change before the game, or just for fun so the player can show that he or she is proud of his or her achievements.

To be really effective as a motivational tool, it is best if the players can see them at practice and games.

Also, make a big deal of giving them out. You can give them as an immediate reward, or in a ceremony at the end of practice or at the end of the game where all the players see who is getting them and why.
I found this to be an excellent motivational technique.

Don’t forget. Generic rewards such as sweets and fizzy drinks are not going to sustain players’ motivation. They’ll find other ways to get these treats and their need to go training will diminish.

These rugby specific rewards give your players a unique motivation to attend training, and practice and play hard.

All the best,

Steve Watson

P.S. Warning – These patches are going to give you problems with players’ parents.
If the parents raise the prospect of missing rugby training the child is going to hassle and harass them until they get their way. They will not want to miss out on the opportunity to earn a new patch!

Highest Paid Rugby Players

10. Jamie Roberts – £380,000 (R6.9-million) $584,772

Jamie Roberts is a Welsh Rugby Union star from Newport, Wales, United Kingdom. Roberts has played for the Under-16, Under-19, and Under-21 Welch national team. His Under-21 team represented Wales in the Six Nations Championship in which Wales won the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2005.

With all of his on field achievements we find it important to note that Jamie Roberts recently received his medical degree. The 26 year old is now Doctor Jamie Roberts. He recently told the Daily Mail, “After I’ve retired and done a bit of travelling I’ll probably end up being an orthopedic surgeon, operating on Welsh rugby players. I’d still be serving Welsh rugby”.

Date of Birth: 8 November 1986
Birthplace: Newport, Wales
University: Cardiff University
Height: 1.93 m (6ft 4in)
Weight: 110 kg (242 lb)
Team: Racing Metro

9.Bakkies Botha – £389,000 (R6.9-million) $598,621

John Philip Botha, better known as Bakkies Botha, is a Lock (second row) rugby union player for French side RC Toulonnais of Toulon, France in the Top 14 League.

Born in Newcastle, South Africa Botha played for Springbok’s (South African Rugby Team) under-19 and under-23 club teams before being selected to the South African National Rugby Union team at age 22.

Standing at 202 cm Both has a reputation of being physical and often times dirty. According to “The South Africa hard man was banned for the rest of the Tri-Nations tournament after head-butting New Zealand scrum-half Cowan in the Springboks’ 32-12 defeat against Graham Henry’s men at Eden Park.” stemming from a 2010 incident. With a salary of almost £400,000 a year, we’re sure he will be just fine on his new French side.

Date of Birth: 22 September 1979
Birthplace: Newcastle, South Africa
University: Middelburg THS and Vereeniging THS South Africa
Height: 202 cm (6 ft 7 1⁄2 in)
Weight: 124 kg (273 lb)
Team: Toulon
Position: Lock

8. Thierry Dusautoir

– £408,000 (R7.2-million) $627,860

Thierry Dusautoir is a Côte d’Ivoire born rugby union star Toulouse (Stade Toulousain) in the French Top 14 Rugby Union League.

Born with a French father and Ivorian mother Thierry Dusautoir moved to France at 10 years of age. At the time Dusautoir preferred the sport was Judo but by 16 he picked up a rugby ball and never looked back.

He was named the 2011 IRB International Player of the Year, thus becoming the second player from France to win the award after former captain Fabien Galthié in 2002

In the 2011 Rugby World Cup Final versus host country New Zealand, Dusautoir (French side Captain) scored the France’s only try which was 1 of 2 tries in the entire game; the other going to New Zealand’s Tony Woodcock.

Date of Birth: 18 November 1981
Birthplace: Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
University: National School of Chemistry and Physics of Bordeaux
Height: 188cm (6ft 2in)
Weight: 100kg (220lb)
Team: Toulouse, French International
Position: Flanker, Back-row (ESPN)

7. Morgan Parra

– £436,000 (R7.6-million) $670,971

The 7th highest paid rugby player in the world is rugby union star Morgan Parra. Born in 1988 he is one of the youngest players to make the top 10 richest rugby players list. Parra was born in France of Portuguese decent. He currently plays for club side ASM Clermont Auvergne in the France Top 14 League.

21 years of age Parra was instrumental in guiding France to a Six Nations Grand Slam. After France’s undefeated 2010 Six Nations Grand Slam victory Parra was an instant sensation receiving hundreds of thousands of Pounds in endorsements and a salary to match at over £400,000 per year.

Date of Birth: 15 November 1988
Birthplace: Metz, Lorraine, France
Height: 180 cm (5ft 11in)
Weight: 77kg (170lb)
Team: ASM Clermont Auvergne
Position: Scrum half / Fly half

6. Bryan Habana

– £474,000 (R8.4-million) $729,450

Bryan Habana is a South African rugby union star currently playing wing for French Top 14 team Toulon.

ESPN states, The 2007 IRB Player of the Year, Habana is regarded as one of the most lethal wingers in the game having taken the Springboks’ all-time try-scoring record during the 2011 World Cup.

Date of Birth: 12 June 1983
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa
University: Rand Afrikaans University
Height: 180cm (5ft 11in)
Weight: 94kg (207 lb)
Team: Toulon
Position: Wing

5. Johnny Sexton

– £494,000 (R8.8-million) $760,265


Jonathon Sexton, nicknamed Johnny, is an Irish Rugby Union fly-half currently playing for the Leinster Rugby of the Pro12 League (consists of 12 teams from Ireland, Italy, Wales and Scottland).

During the 2009 Heineken Cup in Dublin Ireland,Sexton got his start replacing injured Argentine starter Felipe Contepomi and leading Leinster to the finals. During the 2011 Six Nations Tournament Sexton was key in leading Ireland in a 24-8 thrashing of rivals England (The Red and Whites).

Ireland National Team and British and Irish Lions

Date of Birth: 11 July 1985
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
University: St. Mary’s College, University of Dublin
Height: 189cm (6ft 2in)
Weight: 92kg (202 lb)
Team: Leinster (Dublin, Ireland)
Position: Fly-half

4. Sam Burgess

– £500,000 (R8.9-million) $769,499


Sam Burgess is the 4th highest paid and perhaps the most versatile athlete on our highest paid rugby players list. The English born powerhouse is the only player on the list to play rugby league and rugby union.

At age 18 Sam Burgess made his debut in the Super League with the Bradford Bulls and at 19 he debuted for the Great Britain squad for the 2007 Test series against New Zealand.

In 2009 (at age 21) Burgess signed with Australian rugby league squad South Sydney Rabbitohs a team owned by Hollywood Actor Russell Crowe. According to The Guardian “It was Crowe who convinced the Englishman to join the Rabbitohs on an initial four-year deal in 2010. It was also Crowe who agreed to release Burgess at season’s end so he could return home and join rugby union club Bath”.

Sam Burgess also has 3 brothers that play professional rugby including younger twins, George and Tom, that play rugby league in South Sidney.

Date of Birth: 14 December 1988
Birthplace: Liversedge, Kirklees, West Yorkshire, England
University: Heckmondwike Grammar School
Height: 196 cm (6ft 5in)
Weight: 116 kg (255 lb)
Rugby League Team:
Rugby Union Team: Bath (England), England Saxsons
Rugby League Position: Second-row, Lock, Prop
Rugby Union Position: Center, Back row

3. Leigh Halfpenny

– £600,000 (R10.6-million) $923,379

Stephen Leigh Halfpenny is a Welsh phenom who was first signed at age 16 by The Ospreys of Swansea, Wales. Halfpenny was signed by the Cardiff Blues in 2008 and played 6 season appearing in 87 matches. After 6 years and scoring 598 Halfpenny announced he was leaving the Blues for French side Toulon and record £600,000 making him the highest paid Welsh rugby player ever.

In 2006 Halfpenny was called up to the Wales national rugby union team at the ripe age of 20 years old. In 2009, Halfpenny was included in the British & Irish Lions tour Selection for the British & Irish Lions’ tour of South Africa followed in 2009 but he had to return home early due to the recurrence of a thigh injury, according to ESPN.

Date of Birth: 22 December 1988
Birthplace: Gorseinon, Wales
University: Pontybrenin Primary School and Penyrheol Comprehensive School
Height: 178 cm (5ft 10in)
Weight: 85 kg (`87 lb)
Team: Toulon (France)
Position: Fullback, Wingback

2. Matt Giteau

– £700,000 (R12.4-million) $1,077,275

Matthew James Giteau is an Australian born rugby union player currently playing for in France for RC Toulon. Son of retired rugby league star Ron Giteau, Matt Giteau has had rugby instilled in him from an early age.

At age 19 years old Giteau made his professional rugby union debut with ACT Brumbies of Canberra, Australia. One year late in 2002 he made his first appearance for the Australian National Rugby Union Team known as the Wallabies.

Date of Birth: 29 September 1982
Birthplace: Sidney, New South Wales, Australia
University: St Edmunds College
Height: 178cm (5ft 10in)
Weight: 85 kg (187 lb)
Team: RC Toulon (France)
Position: Inside centre, Fly-half, Halfback

1. Dan Carter

– £1-million (R17.7-million) $1,538,891

The highest paid rugby player on the planet is New Zealand’s own Dan Carter. Carter is a rugby union player star whom currently plays for the Canterbury Crusaders and the New Zealand National Rugby Union Team (nicknamed “The All Blacks”).

Dan Carter has several rugby union high achievements including the world-record for test points at 1455, four Super Rugby titles with the Christchurch Crusaders, and being named International Rugby Board player of the year in 2005 and again in 2012. He holds an International Test record of 90 wins, 1 draw, and 11 losses; according to New Zealand’s official national team website.

Date of Birth: 5 March 1982
Birthplace: Southbridge, Canterbury, New Zealand
University: Ellesmere College Christchurch Boys High
Height: 178cm (5′ 10″)
Weight: 94kg (206 lbs)
Team: Racing Métro 92

Tips for Coaches

Hi Coach,

There’s no doubt that the most spectacular rugby we’ve seen in the World Cup has come from teams that offload.

The skill comes from the ball carrier and the support player working in unison, with the ball carrier often unsighted to make the final pass.With the confidence to play this sort of game, any line break or potential line break becomes more potent.

Force a low tackle to offload the ball freely

by Colin Ireland


Being able to keep the ball alive is important when trying to break down well-organised defences and moving the ball forward from A to B can be done much quicker if it’s kept off the ground.

Set up

A 15m x 10m box, several balls, markers.

What you get your players to do

Split into groups of three with a ball.

Two are attackers and one is a defender. The ball carrier attacks the defender, pulling him to one side and making him tackle low.

With a low tackle, the arms are free to pass the ball back inside to the second attacker.


2v1: The ball carrier pulls the defender to one side, meaning he has to tackle low, leaving the attacker’s hands free to pass inside to support player.

This is then developed by joining up with another group and having three attackers and three defenders.

Defenders stand in single file about 5m apart.

The ball carrier passes back inside while being tackled


Develop the initial activity into a 3v3 scenario, still starting in single file for both attackers and defenders.


The ball carrier holding the ball in two hands.

Ball kept clear of the defender.

Changing direction and pulling the defender to the side. Passing back inside to the support player.

The support player timing his run so he takes the ball at pace. Good, clear, timed communication from the attacking players.


Play 3v3 in which an attacker makes a decision to break outside or inside, moving a defender, then passing out of the tackle.


Take it into a 3v3 game, emphasising hands free and passing out of the tackle.


Start this activity at a slow pace as being able to accurately pass while being tackled is a skill not all players will feel comfortable with. The key is to make the defender tackle low.

How to make the most of overloads

Too many teams don’t know how to make the most of overloads and make poor options with ball in hand. This game teaches players to make good decisions in spaces of different widths – and score.

Set up

A 30x20m channel with boxes of a variety of widths. Each box has a numbered defender – D1, D2, D3 and D4.

A curved line of cones allows access only to that half. Lines of three attackers start with a ball.


The rules

The first three players beat D1 in the narrow box. They then beat D2, using the full width of the box but must stay to the left of the cones.


The attackers reach the end of the channel, turn then beat D4, staying on the left of the cones. The attackers then beat D3, score a try then start again.


Attackers must beat the defender without being tackled or losing the ball (if this happens it is the end of that attempt). They must draw the defender (“good decision”) and pass into space to the support (“good decision”). Allow 30–45 seconds per team to score.


One point for every “good decision”.
Five points for every try.
Winners are the team of three who achieves the most points in five attempts.

Tell them

“React to the defender and move into a space as either the ball carrier or support runner.”

“Tell the ball carrier where you are.”

Simple nutrition tips to boost your players’ performance

One of the things I always emphasise to my players is that if they really want to improve, they need to treat their bodies well. Whilst many players train hard and do lots of exercise, the foods they put into their bodies often doesn’t compliment the effort they put in.

As a result, this week I’m going to set out some nutrition guidelines that you can share with your players so that they’re eating the best foods for their bodies.

Rugby Nutrition Tips:

A meal containing a protein source and a combination of carbohydrates should be eaten within an hour of finishing a game or training session.
After a hard session or match, fruits, sandwiches, and protein shakes start the refuelling process.
Review your protein intake – you probably need a bit more if you are training hard and playing regularly.
Emphasize low–GI, carbohydrate–rich foods rather than high-GI foods in your normal diet.
Eat high-GI foods–bananas, sports drinks, pasta, for example-immediately after exercising.
Eat fewer refined and simple carbohydrates, such as white bread and sugar.
Eat smaller meals and eat more often to encourage stable energy and blood sugar levels.
Eat as much variety as possible – instead of focusing on wheat based products (such as cereals, breads and snack bars), try rye bread, oats or quinoa flakes instead.
Eat complex carbohydrates three hours before a competition or hard training session.
Fitness 4 Sport recommends that you always make dietary changes under the guidance of a professional and consult your GP before you start.
To optimise your energy stores for games aim to increase your carbohydrate intake to 10g/kg bodyweight during the 3 days prior to the game and taper your training.
How important is the Glycaemic Index?

Considering the influence of different types of carbohydrate foods is fundamental to your nutrition plan. Coaches and players are now recognising the importance of the Glycaemic Index.

The Glycaemic Index provides a guideline for measuring the speed of energy release into the blood stream. Certain foods are rated with a high glycaemic index while others are low, and most fall in between.


The different types of carbohydrates vary in their rates of absorption, digestion, and influence on blood sugar levels. A food’s glycemic index (GI) is used to describe the rate at which the food raises blood glucose levels.

High-GI foods, such as white bread and honey, rapidly increase blood sugar and trigger the production of large amounts of insulin to counteract the rise. Low-GI carbohydrates, such as apples, porridge, oats, and lentils, have a slower rate of sugar absorption and therefore produce less insulin.

Low–GI-carbohydrate–rich foods are more appropriate sources of energy for fuelling training and competition, and they reduce the likelihood of carbohydrate intake increasing body fat amounts.


Rugby players require a greater intake of protein than sedentary people because protein builds muscle and helps to repair muscle damaged during contact or weight training.

Protein is also an energy source, although that is not its primary role. It can be burned as a backup fuel to produce energy when glycogen levels are in short supply–like the crucial last 10 minutes of a tough game.

Similar to that for carbohydrates, protein intake should be regulated according to body weight and the amounts of strength, power, and contact training in the program.

Players who want to increase or maintain muscle mass while following a demanding conditioning program require up to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight in their diet each day.

Because it’s difficult to take in enough meat, dairy products, and other protein–rich foods to meet that requirement in a day, many players use protein drinks (whey protein powder mixed with non–fat or low–fat milk or water) to help them reach this level of intake.

Top tip

High-GI foods are beneficial immediately after exercise because they help the blood sugar quickly return to a normal level.

5 top pre-match tips:

Eat a main meal at least 3 hours prior to kick–off, focusing on carbohydrate rich foods with a small protein source.
A small snack such as an apple 1½ hours before kick–off.
Avoid very high protein and fat foods.
Drink plenty of fluid.
Experiment with foods during training to find what suits you best.
Fact file

Alcohol hampers not only hydration and energy replenishment, but also the repair of tissue damaged by contact.

Use “guard dogs” to defend the ruck and retain the ball

The session

What you tell your players the session is about…

Aggressive defence at the side of the ruck.
Preventing the attacking team either gaining ground or getting quick ball, or perhaps even winning a turnover yourselves.
What you tell your players to do…

Set yourself low in a “three point stance” (both feet set, one hand down), one step outside the edge of the ruck.
Once the ball carrier breaks from the ruck, drive under their chest, and back.
What you get your players to do…

The warm up: Have your players run around in a 10m box. “Name” its four sides. You stand in the middle, with your foot on a ball. When you shout out the “NAME” of one of the sides, your players run to this side and take up a three point stance, facing into the box. When you touch the ball with your hand, your players must move forward 3m, keeping low, before returning to jogging around.

The practice: Lay a contact pad (or cones) 5m away from a parallel line. The length of the pad (or the distance between the cones) represents the length of a ruck. A defender, the “guard dog”, runs and takes up a three point stance at one end of the pad. An attacker stands by a ball at the other end of the pad. When the attacker “picks and goes”, the defender moves forward and drives him into the pad. Build the intensity with the ball carrier going from a walk and then into a full blown attack.


Developing the session

The training session can be developed as follows…

Add players to both sides.
Do a physical rugby–related exercise before the “guard dogs” take up position – in a game, they are not likely to have to guard when fresh.
A game situation

The session can be developed further by playing the following game. Divide your players into two teams. On a narrow pitch run a mock set piece play (like a move off a scrum or a lineout) and develop the play from there. Stand behind the attacking side and watch carefully the roles of the “guard dogs” at the rucks. Allow no more than two phases before getting feedback from your players.


Rugby quotes

“The game has gone quicker, so your decision making has to be even better and quicker. The pressure on you as a referee is massive”

Nigel Owens, upcoming World Cup final referee.

Dan Cottrell’s Better Rugby

The History of South African Rugby

Introduction of Rugby Football to SA

The Dutch began to settle in the Southern tip of Africa from 1652 but it was only with the arrival of permanent British control in 1806 that the economy began to prosper and cultural and political power grew and extended its influence into the region. As elsewhere in the British Empire a wide range of British cultural practices were introduced during the mid 19th century including sports like football and cricket.

ogilvieThe Reverend George Ogilvie (‘Gog’), born in 1826 in Wiltshire, England, is credited with introducing football to South Africa, following his appointment as Headmaster of the Diocesan College at Rondenbosch, near Cape Town in 1861 and remained until 1885. Actually, the game he taught was the Winchester football variety, a game he had learned at his former ‘alma mater’, the well-known Hampshire school, Winchester College, Hampshire England. Soon, the young gentlemen of Cape Town joined in and the local press reported a series of football matches between scratch sides conveniently named ‘Town v Suburbs’, Civil servants v All comers or ‘Home v Colonial-born’ etc. etc. but the first game took place on 21st August 1862 between the Army and the Civil service.

Circa 1875 Rugby football began to be played in the Cape colony, though the first club Hamilton RFC formed that year was playing the Winchester game. The following year two further clubs – the Western Province and Villagers – were formed. The former adopted the Rugby rules, while the latter opted for the Winchester code. Indeed it was Winchester Football that the two leading clubs Hamilton and Villager started playing against each other in 1876, and the history of football in South Africa might have been very different, but for the arrival in Cape Town in 1878 of William Henry Milton, the former England back.

By the late 1870s, rugby football was very much battling to survive against Winchester Football and the Western Province club had ceased to exist due to lack of support, but the arrival in Cape Town of William H. Milton in 1878 turned the tide in favour of rugby. Milton, who had played for England only a few years earlier (in 1874 and 1875), joined the Villagers club and started playing and preaching the rugby code. By the end of that year the football playing fraternity in Cape Town had all but abandoned the Winchester game in favour of the Rugby football variety. Ten years later, Milton (later Sir William, the administrator of Southern Rhodesia) represented South Africa at cricket, though by the time the first British tour arrived in 1891, he had given up playing rugby.
In 1883 the W.P.R.F.U. organized the first club competition for a cup, known as the Grand Challenge Cup, also around 1883 the Stellenbosch club was formed and the young Boers from the farming belt took to it likes ducks to water.

Around the same time the game began in Cape Town, started by a number of British regiments and by the end of 1883 Rugby was established right across the coastal belt of the old Cape colony and expanding in popularity. From there it expanded into Kimberley where in 1886 Griqualand West Rugby Union was formed. Next it expanded into the Western Transvaal towns, Klerksdorp and Potchefstroom whilst the Cape Town men introduced it to Pretoria and Johannesburg. Inter-town matches between Pretoria and Johannesburg were being played in 1888 and the following year the Transvaal Rugby Football Union was formed. Association football had been introduced to Natal earlier than Rugby and so Rugby took a little longer to get a foothold. But by 1890 clubs had been formed in Pietermaritzburg, the capital and headquarters of the British army, and in Durban.

In 1889 the South African Rugby Football Board was established to link up and govern the various unions. They held their first tournament the same year ay Kimberley where the Western province, Transvaal, Griqualand West and Eastern province competed. The Western province won the tournament and went on to win the next eight.

Top row: (left to right) A. Richards, T. B. Herold, L. B. Smuts, ?, ?, ?, ?.
Bottom row: H. T. Strungnell, Dan Smith, J. G. Heyneman, ?, R. C. Snedden, E. H. Bisset.

The First International

In 1891 the first British representative team arrived. This had been negotiated by Mr. J. Richards, a member of a well known Cape Town sporting brotherhood, who had been at the famous Rugby school, Leys at Cambridge. Cecil Rhodes, then prime minister of the Cape Colony, took over the whole financial responsibility.

The team consisted of :

W. E. Maclagan (captain) Scottish International
R. G. Macmillan Scottish International
P. R. Clauss Scottish International
W. Wotherspoon Scottish International
R. L. Aston English International
W. E. Bromet English International
P. F. Hancock English International
W. G. Mitchell English International
H. Marshall Subsequently won English cap.
R. Thompson
A. Rotherham Subsequently won English cap.
E. Bromet
W. A. Lindsay
C. P. Simpson
W. H. Thorman
J. Hammond
W. Jackson
A. A. Surtees
E. Mayfield
J. H. Gould
B. G. Roscoe
T. Whittaker
Edwin Ash from Richmond, Manager

With such a start studded line-up the South African’s were not expected to compete well but the whole point of the exercise was to gain experience and prepare for the future. The British team duly played 19 matches and won all of them racking up 224 points to 1 (50 goals from 50 tries, 39 tries, 6 dropped goals, 7 penalty goals and 1 goal from mark. Charles (“Haasie”) Versfeld from the Hamilton club at Cape Town scored the only try for the visitors (a try being worth 1 point back then). There were three actual test matches and the combined score of the three tests was only 10 nil which was a tremendous effort.
The visit was a very sporting affair and the visitors paid high tribute to the keenness and enthusiasm for the game all over the country and to the individual merits of several players who they said were clearly of international standard.

1891 British Isles versus Cape Colony match, the first match of the British Isles tour .

The British captain brought with him a gold cup which had been a gift from the late Sir Donald Currie, the founder of the Union Castle Steamship line to South Africa with instructions to give it to the centre putting up the best game during the tour. This went to Griqualand West after a game played in Kimberley. The Griqualand Rugby Union immediately handed this over to the South African Rugby Board to become a perpetual floating inter-center trophy, now known as the Currie Cup competition.

It is often disputed who first won the ‘Currie Cup’ as it’s now known:

  • The first provincial competition took place in 1889 and was won by Western Province before the cup even arrived in South Africa. They have their name on the cup for that year.
  • Griqualand West were presented with the cup in 1891 after their game against the tourists (there was no provincial tournament that year due to the tour). They have their name on the cup also.
  • Western Province won the first provincial tournament that was played for the cup itself in 1892 and their name was added to the cup again.

The tour had been a great success and players all over South Africa learned a lot and the over standard of play improved immensely with in 1 or 2 years.
At the end of their tour Stellenbosch invited them to play a match in Stellenbosch. This invitation was accepted and on 7 September 1891 Stellenbosch became one of the very few club teams ever to play an international touring team.

Marthinus Daneel, father of George, and Stellenbosch’s wing had already crossed the British goal line but instead of placing the ball for a try; he wanted to be closer to the goalposts. In those days a try counted for one point and a goal for three points. The British were 2-0 ahead and if Marthinus could place the ball under the goalposts Stellenbosch would win.

Unfortunately it was Maclaglan himself who got hold of Daneel and there followed what was called a “maul”. A maul then was a duel between two players in which other players were not allowed to participate. Depending on who won the ball it would either be placed for a try or placed behind the dead ball line. Maclaglan won this maul and Stellenbosch’s chance of winning was lost.

In 1896 the second British team visited and this time in the final match of the tour South Africa beat them 5 – 0 at Cape Town to record South Africa’s first international victory.

Also in 1896 Cecil John Rhodes presented a trophy to the South African Coloured Rugby Football Board (SACRFB) for their domestic competition. It was first played for in Kimberley in 1898 when Western Province won.

The Rhodes Cup

In 1903 the British came again and this time they could only win 11 matches, lost 8 and drew 3.
Until the last test of the1903 series, the South African team donned either white jerseys or jerseys in the colours of the Union/club hosting the match and had no badge on their jerseys and, in fact, white is even today South Africa’s alternative kit. However, before the third and final test at Newlands the then South African captain Barry H. Heatlie was asked by an unnamed official to consider changing the habit, with the view of giving South Africa a permanent jersey. Heatley, one of the greats of South Africa’s pioneering period, recalled the moment green was adopted as the jersey colour: “At the time I had on hand a supply of dark green jerseys, the colours of the defunct Old Diocesan’s Club. It was decided to wear those jerseys at Newlands, and ever since South African fifteens have been clad in green.”

The First Tour

In 1905 the famous New Zealanders made their tour of the mother country with tremendous success and this spurred the South Africans to do the same so in 1906 the first International tour to the United Kingdom was organized with the team captained by Paul Roos and vice-captained by H. J. Carolin. Regarding the Springbok badge, the manager of the 1906 tour John. Cecil “Daddy” Carden, observed that it existed when the team left South Africa. In a letter to the author of the history of SA Rugby Ivor Difford, Carden quoted an article published by the London Daily Mail on September 20, 1906, as follows: “The team’s colours will be myrtle green jerseys with gold collar. They would wear dark blue shorts and dark blue stockings and the jersey would have been embroidered in mouse-coloured silk on the left breast a springbok, a small African antelope…”
The name Springboks, an anglicised version of the Afrikaans word Springbokken, was the brainchild of skipper Roos, vice-captain Carolin and manager Carden, as the latter recalled: “No uniforms or blazers had been provided and we were a motley turn-out at practice at Richmond. That evening, I spoke to Roos and Carolin and pointed out that the witty London Press would invent some funny name for us, if we did not invent one ourselves. We thereupon agreed to call ourselves ‘Springboks’, and to tell pressmen that we desired to be so named… I at once ordered the dark green, gold-edged blazers and still have the first Springbok pocket badge that was made”.

Note: 1780 – Eberhard August Wilhelm Von Zimmerman, a German geographer and zoologist first scientifically classifies the ANTIDORCAS MARSUPIALIS, a small common gazelle of South Africa commonly known as the SPRINGBOK – now the emblem and name of the South African national rugby union team

The results speak for themselves:













Text Match




South Africa v Scotland




South Africa v Ireland




South Africa v Wales




South Africa v England




The first match was in Northampton against Eastern Counties and was won easily by the Springboks after an exhibition of running rugby brought them nine tries. In the second match in Leicester, the visitors scored five tries and two drop goals to defeat a powerful Midlands team captained by VH Cartwright, 29 – 0, centre S.C de Melker giving an exhibition of centre three-quarter play. It was also the match, in which the visitors won the heart of the public.
The tour progressed in similar fashion, though the North and Devon in England and Newport and Glamorgan County in Wales gave the visitors a warning of things to come. The mystery of the ‘loose head’ in the scrum, effectively employed by the Welsh, was solved by Carolin and WA Millar, who, although not among those originally selected, made the tour as a replacement for B. P. Mosenthal. The Springbok pack practiced the ‘loose head’ in the dining room of the Gloucester Arms Hotel and, as a result, their forwards came to enjoy a wealth of possession, which Kriege, Loubster, Stegman and the rest of the backs manufactured into tries. Matches against universities, won with comparative ease by the visitors, were followed by the first foray into Scotland, against the South in Hawick; the fast Springbok backs prevailed against the hard Scottish pack, winning by 32-5 in what was a good springboard for the weekend test against the Scots, the already the sixteenth match of the tour
It was time for Scotland, who had led for most of the match against the 1905 All Blacks only to lose 12-7 in the final stages in Inverleith, to do themselves justice. In the Glasgow match, played at the soccer stadium Hampden Park, there was neither the frost nor the fog that affected the game against New Zealand the previous year and, in the event, with the Scottish forwards led by ‘Darkie’ Bedell-Sivright and JC MacCallum dominant, the match was decided by the swift movements of two back divisions which ‘surpassed themselves in speed, skill and deft handling’, as a contemporary observer put it, that made the day.
K. G.  McLeod, who had made his international debut the previous year as a 17-year old, scored a memorable try following a cross-kick by P Monro. A further try by A. B. H. L. Purves following a Scottish forward rush dealt the mortal blow to the gallant Springboks, who were decimated by injury. Already without injured skipper Roos, the South Africans lost Brink, Mare and then Marsberg during the match but battled bravely until the end against the rampant Scots.
A return to winning ways against North of Scotland, with only four of the players from the test side in action, was followed by the Irish test. With Paul Roos back in the side – and again wearing white to avoid a clash with the Irish jerseys – the Springboks played like men possessed against a strong Irish side led by the legendary Basil Maclear. The Springboks won 12-3 and after a game against Dublin University returned to the UK mainland for the Welsh test.
As the conquerors of the All Blacks the previous year and welcoming back the great Gwyn Nicholls, Wales were expected to win. But on the day it was the Springboks back division boasting Krige, Loubster, Joubert and Marsberg that dominated to inflict a devastating 11-0 defeat on the incredulous Welsh. The silence at the end of the game in Swansea had ‘almost material consistency’, noted an eye witness. “We were a very happy band in Swansea that night,” noted Carolin.
The last test against England, a week later at Crystal Palace ended in a 3-3 draw on a heavy, greasy field that naturally deprived the South African backs of their expected supremacy. The Springboks scored in the first half through Millar and England leveled the score in the second half, through Freddy Brooks, a Rhodesian who should probably have played for the South Africans. A few more matches were played, including a second defeat, 17-0 at the hands of Cardiff in ankle deep mud, before the team went over to Paris for an unofficial test against the French and in a one-sided encounter the Springboks demolished the French XV 55-6, to end a most satisfying tour in style.
Some interesting points:
1. The game against Scotland was in sodden conditions and the South African’s complained about the Scottish forwards who would rather kick the man than the ball (4 South African players had to leave the field due to injuries).
2. The Welsh team had been the only team to beat the All blacks the year before.
3. England’s try was scored by a Rhodesian F. G. Brooks who was on holiday in England and who was some months short of his residential qualifications preventing him from being picked for South Africa (then 5 years). He was born in India, Educated at Bedford Grammar school in England. He went on to play for South Africa and was a fine wing three-quarters for them.

The Springboks followed this success with a tour in 1912-13 during which they defeated Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France and England at Twickenham (which was England’s first defeat there since it opened in 1909.

The Springboks went from strength to strength and did not lose any home test match series until 1974 and also won or drew all of their series of tests from 1903 to 1956.


No history of South African Rugby would be complete without mention of apartheid and although some would suggest that there should be a seperation between sport and politics they are inextricably linked.

As mentioned earlier, South Africa was colonized by the English and Dutch in the seventeenth century. English domination of the Dutch descendents (known as Boers or Afrikaners) resulted in the Dutch establishing the new colonies of Orange Free State and Transvaal. The discovery of diamonds in these lands around 1900 resulted in an English invasion which sparked the Boer War. Following independence from England, an uneasy power-sharing between the two groups held sway until the 1940’s, when the Afrikaner National Party was able to gain a strong majority. Strategists in the National Party invented apartheid as a means to cement their control over the economic and social system. Initially, aim of the apartheid was to maintain white domination while extending racial separation. Starting in the 60’s, a plan of “Grand Apartheid” was executed, emphasizing territorial separation and police repression.

With the enactment of apartheid laws in 1948, racial discrimination was institutionalized. Race laws touched every aspect of social life, including a prohibition of marriage between non-whites and whites, and the sanctioning of “white-only” jobs. In 1950, the Population Registration Act required that all South Africans be racially classified into one of three categories: white, black (African), or colored (of mixed decent). The coloured category included major subgroups of Indians and Asians. Classification into these categories was based on appearance, social acceptance, and descent. For example, a white person was defined as “in appearance obviously a white person or generally accepted as a white person.” A person could not be considered white if one of his or her parents were non-white. The determination that a person was “obviously white” would take into account “his habits, education, and speech and deportment and demeanor.” A black person would be of or accepted as a member of an African tribe or race, and a colored person is one that is not black or white. The Department of Home Affairs (a government bureau) was responsible for the classification of the citizenry. Non-compliance with the race laws were dealt with harshly. All blacks were required to carry “pass books” containing fingerprints, photo and information on access to non-black areas.

The practice of apartheid existed in South Africa for more than forty years and came to an end when Nelson Mandela (see also African National Congress) was elected president in 1994.

During the apartheid era racially segregated sport was one of the most divisive issues. The rugby team in particular became synonymous with apartheid. Rugby was a British public school invention, played by the cream of colonial Anglo Saxon society. But in South Africa, it was Afrikaners who dominated the sport, and for them it was more than a game – it was an expression of resurgent Afrikaner nationalism, an opportunity for mauling, rucking, physical revenge against an old political foe. To black South Africans, rugby had a different meaning: it was a white man’s game, and a brutally hard one at that, the sport of the apartheid police, the apartheid army, and the apartheid government. The theme was taken up across the world. Each time a South African rugby team ventured abroad, it had to run a gauntlet of booing, egg-flinging protesters.

This is not to say that non-whites didn’t play rugby, indeed, white missionaries used sport as a way to encourage ‘respectibility’ in the emerging non-white middle class during the early 19th century. This included Cricket, Tennis, Croquet, Soccer and of course Rugby. In fact Rugby dominated the non-white sports scene in places like the Cape colony and the Eastern Cape in particular through to the late 1960s but rugby organisation (Western province coloured rugby union was founded in 1886 and the South African Coloured Rugby Board (SACRB) was founded in 1896) and teams were kept segregated with discrimination against black and coloured players and little government funding.

In 1919 New Zealand toured South Africa, however, the SARFB stipulated that no players with Maori blood should be included in the side. An All Black of West Indian extraction, Ranji Wilson, was sent home as a result.

The Springboks themselves went on tour to Australia and New Zealand in 1921. There were three tests played against New Zealand with NZ winning the first, SA winning the second and the forth drawn to tie the series.

The British Isles toured SA in 1924, this was the first time they were called the Lions. The series was tied with the Lions winning 9 games and losing 9 games.

The All Blacks returned in 1928 and once again the series was drawn and once again the Maories were left behind. In fact they were left out of the 1949 and 1960 sides too but objections were beginning to grow.

Rugby was growing in popularity amongst coloured communities and in 1935 the South African Bantu Rugby Board was founded with J M Dippa as president and Hayley Plaatue of Kimberley as secretary.

In 1939 the SACRB chose a team to go on an internal tour. The team played 9 matches and lost just two. This touring team was called the Springboks. Its colours were green and gold and its blazer badge carried a leaping springbok with the words ‘1st National Team 1939′. The second world war dashed the SACRB’s hopes of sending the team abroad.

Schools rugby with annual tournaments was an important feature of the game amongst the black players. The first of the annual inter-schools tournaments was played in 1943 with Healdtown beeting the Welsh in the final. The last tournament was won by Langa High school in 1964.

Not only was there separation between coloured and white rugby during the aparteid era, but there were also conflicting interests amongst the controlling black and coloured bodies. In 1959 there was a massive split in the SACRB when the Western Province League (the largest part of SACRB) opted to break away from the SACRB and form the South African Rugby Football Federation under Charles Loriston. Each body sent representatives to the RFUs centenary celebrations in 1971.

From 1960 international criticism of apartheid grew steeply in the wake of “The Wind of Change” speech by the British Prime Minister, Macmillan, and the Sharpeville massacre near Johannesburg in South Africa. From then onward, the Springboks, perceived as prominent representatives of apartheid South Africa, were increasingly internationally isolated.

The South African Coloured Rugby Board became the South African Rugby Union in 1966.

Attitudes in South Africa’s rugby hierarchy were beginning to welcome non-white players and coloured teams began to face white sides at the end of the 1970s, with Tobias and Avril Williams progressing through the ranks to become the first non-whites to play for South Africa. Tobias recalls Doctor Danie Craven, the then head of South African rugby, praising the non-white sides, telling them, “you guys are on the right track”.

The SARFF also sent a team to tour the UK and Holland in 1971 much to the disapproval of the SARU and those who beleived that society should be normalized before sport was. Then several African clubs, previously affiliated to the SAARB crossed over to the SARU.

Coming shortly after the Soweto riots, the 1976 All Blacks tour of South Africa attracted international condemnation and 28 countries boycotted the 1976 Summer Olympics in protest. The following year, the Commonwealth signed the’ Gleneagles Agreement’, which discouraged any sporting contact with South Africa.

A planned 1979 Springbok tour of France was stopped by the French government, which announced that it was inappropriate for South African teams to tour France.

Fours Unions existed in 1981
SARFB White Players
SARU Non-racial Mixed
SARA Black African
SARFF Coloured Players

Errol Tobias

South Africa then toured New Zealand in defiance of the Gleneagles Agreement but something rather special happened, Errol Tobias, a black man, was selected to play for the Springboks and became the first non-white player in the history of the Springboks to win a cap. His selection was opposed by sections of the white community but also by sections of the non-white community who thought he should not turn out for a sport so associated with the apartheid regime.

Tobias recalls “I knew there were people who were saying that, but I decided that I was going to show South African people that all men are born equal. I wanted to show them that colour doesn’t matter – if you have got the skills then you should play for your country. My goal was to show the country and the rest of the world that we had black players who were equally as good if not better than the whites, and that if you are good enough you should play.”

Tobias went on to gain 6 caps and 22 test points, between 1981 and 1984.

Banned from international competition

After the 1981 Springbok tour of New Zealand, South Africa was banned by the International Rugby Board from international competition until such time as apartheid ended and while racial segregation and persecution continued for a good ten years after his debut, his appearence in the green and gold played a part in broadening the horizons of the rugby public.

By the end of the 1980s, South Africa was at the receiving end of all number of sanctions, ranging from economic to diplomatic. But in a country that is fiercely proud of its prowess on the field of play, the sporting embargo was perhaps the most effective. In between 1984 and 1992, the national team played ten Test matches, missing out on two World Cups and the proposed Lions tour of 1986.

On the 23rd of March 1992 the non-racial South African Rugby Union (SARU) and the South African Rugby Board (SARB) merged to form the South African Rugby Football Union (SARFU).

Released After 27 years in jail, Nelson Mandela was subsequently elected President of South Africa and had to face the challenge to “balance black aspirations with white fears”, as racial tensions from the apartheid era had not completely disappeared. He attended a game of the Springboks. Mandela recognized that the blacks in the stadium cheered against their home squad, as the Springboks represent prejudice and apartheid in their minds. Mandela asked the newly formed and black-dominated South African Sports Committee to support the Springboks. He then met with the captain of the Springboks rugby team, François Pienaar, and implied that a Springboks victory in the World Cup will unite and inspire the nation.

Winning the World Cup

Sport, like no other South African institution, has shown it has the power to heal old wounds. When the Springboks, won the Rugby World Cup on its home turf in 1995, Nelson Mandela donned the No 6 shirt of the team’s captain – Francois Pienaar, a white Afrikaner – and the two embraced in a spontaneous gesture of racial reconciliation which melted hearts around the world. A single moment, and 400 years of colonial strife and bitterness … suddenly seemed so petty.

Mandela and Francois Pienaar after the 1995 World Cup win

That is not to say everything was resolved and even in the RWC winning squad the unity was somewhat patchy. However things are changing in the new South Africa and the South African Rugby Football Union has been working hard to make rugby the game of all South Africans, mainly through an active development programme throughout the country. At provincial age-group levels, players of colour are playing an increasingly prominent role as the development programme.

The 1995 RWC winning squad included another ground breaking black player, Chester Williams.

The South African Rugby Football Union changed its name in 2005 to the current South African Rugby Union.

SARFU (courtesy of the SARFU)

The South African Rugby Football Union (SARFU) is the custodian of the Game of rugby in South Africa. SARFU was established in 1992 following the unification of the former SA Rugby Board (SARB) and SA Rugby Union (SARU), paving the way for South Africa’s readmission to the international arena after eight years of isolation.
SARFU has as its members the 14 Provincial Unions – the Blue Bulls (Pretoria), Boland (Wellington), Border (East London), Eastern Province (Port Elizabeth), Falcons (Springs), Free State (Bloemfontein), Golden Lions (Gauteng), Griffons (Welkom), Griqualand West (Kimberley), Leopards (Potchefstroom), Mpumalanga (Witbank), Natal (Durban), South Western Districts (George) and Western Province (Cape Town).
The unified SARFU was founded on three core principles:

  • The establishment of a non-racial, non-political and democratic rugby community, both on and off the field to ensure the leveling of the playing fields at all levels.
  • The development of infrastructure and human resources potential in order to uplift the game in disadvantaged areas and establish it in areas where it was not being played.
  • To ensure that South Africa reclaimed its place amongst the world’s top rugby playing Nations.

23 March: The highlight, without doubt, in a sense the greatest highlight in 130 years of the game in South Africa, was the unification of the national bodies in South Africa, signed at the Kimberley Sun Hotel.
Kimberley was chosen as the venue for it had been the founding city of the SA Rugby Football Board in 1889 and the SA Coloured Rugby Board in 1896.
Impetus had been given to unification when Dr Danie Craven and Dr Louis Luyt, to the annoyance of the government of the day met with the ANC and a SARU delegation, led by Mr Ebrahim Patel. The eventual driving force in the unity process was the late Mr Steve Tshwete, who later became the minister of sport in the 1994 government.
The new body was to be known as the South African Rugby Football Union with its headquarters at Newlands. All committees were shared. The first presidents were Dr Danie Craven (executive president) and Mr Ebrahim Patel as co-president.
Unification meant readmission into international rugby. The Springboks played five tests, and a SA Development team toured the South Pacific.
That year the International Rugby Board awarded the 1995 Rugby World Cup to South Africa.
The game had changed since the 1987 and 1991 Rugby World Cups from which South Africa had been excluded and in the five internationals played that year, South Africa lost to New Zealand, to Australia by a record score, to France in France for the first time and to England by a record score. The French defeat was also a record against France. The only victory was against France in Lyons.
The Springbok coach was John Williams. Naas Botha was the captain.

4 January: Dr Danie Craven died at his home in Stellenbosch.
Mr Ebrahim Patel was the executive president of SARFU with Professor Fritz Eloff as co-president.
The Springboks played seven tests. They lost a series to France in South Africa and a series to Australia in Australia. They won both tests in Argentina.
James Small became the first South African ever sent off in a test match – for verbal abuse to the referee, Ed Morrison.
The Springbok coach was Ian McIntosh. Francois Pienaar was the captain.
The SA Barbarians toured the UK. The Springbok Sevens team played in the Hong Kong Sevens and the inaugural Sevens World Cup, reaching the quarter-finals of both.
Three South African teams took part in the Super 10 competition – Transvaal, Northern Transvaal and Natal. Transvaal became the first winners of the Super 10. They also won the Currie Cup and the Lion Cup.

Dr Louis Luyt became the new president of SARFU.
The Springboks toured New Zealand, losing the series 2-0 with the third test drawn.
There was much controversy surrounding the tour – the sending home of prop Johan le Roux for biting Sean Fitzpatrick’s ear, the sacking of the coach Ian McIntosh and an attempt to sack the manager, Jannie Engelbrecht as well.
Kitch Christie replaced Ian McIntosh as the Springbok coach and began an unbeaten sequence of 14 tests with two home victories against Argentina and then away wins against Wales and Scotland.
The South African Under 19 team went to the FIRA International Tournament for the first time and, captained by Corné Krige, won the tournament, beating Italy in the final.
The South African Sevens team again reached the quarter-finals of the Hong Kong Sevens.
Natal lost to Queensland in the Final of the Super 10. Transvaal won the Currie Cup.

1995 was a most momentous year in the history of rugby football as the game decided in Paris that it would cease to be “amateur” and become officially professional, a concept embraced in all major countries bar Argentina.
This came about after the best Rugby World Cup organised in the decade – and organised in South Africa and won by South Africa.
In 1994 South Africa had had its first democratic elections and formed its first democratic government, casting fears of revolution aside and embracing hope as never before.
That hope burst into rainbow colour with the Rugby World Cup, seemingly blessing the new nation so desperate for success and affirmation.
It started at Newlands with an opening ceremony of South African splendour, putting to flight all the prophets of doom who had said that South Africa could not host such an event.
It was an emotional day, crowned by the Springboks’ decisive victory over Australia in the opening match.
It was not all joy and light. There was a drab match against Romania and an ugly match in Port Elizabeth when the lights failed and three players, including Springbok James Dalton, were sent off.
There was the ghastly injury to Max Britto of the Ivory Coast that left him paralysed.
There was the nasty quarter-final match between the Springboks and Samoa. And all the while the All Blacks were ruling the roost.
Then came the day in the flood at King’s park and a match nearly cancelled for the torrents of rain – and then the tide of defence that stopped Abdelatif Benazzi inches form the Springbok line to let the Springboks into the final against the All Blacks with rugby’s most feared weapon, big Jonah Lomu.
Nobody who was in South Africa will forget the final – the closing ceremony the SAA Jumbo that flew over head, Nelson Mandela in a No. 6 Springbok jersey, extra time and Joel Stransky’s dropped goal which won the match, the most famous kick in rugby’s history.
Then there was the almost religious fervour as Francois Pienaar held the golden cup aloft while all around shouted their own alleluias.
South Africa danced in the streets that night – all the streets, from the Cape Flats to Soweto, from Cape Augulus to the Limpopo.
As if too much had been given, the Pandora’s box of the World Cup also contained spite and bickering and the danger that rugby would flounder on the rock of professionalism and the war between Rupert Murdoch and Kerry packer, a situation saved by the decisive action of SARFU and its president Louis Luyt.
Natal won the Bankfin-Currie Cup, Transvaal had a players’ boycott, South Africa came second in the Southern Hemisphere Under-21 Tournament in Argentina, lost in the semi-final of the FIRA Under 19 tournament and the Springboks were knocked out in the quarter-finals of the Hong Kong Sevens.
Two important decisions were made – to reduce the provinces from 22 to 14 and to introduce quotas into all SARFU teams except the Springboks and the top team of each province.
At the end of the year the Springboks, with no visible sign of strain, defeated Wales at Ellis Park and then Italy in Rome and England at Twickenham.

As if South Africa had had too much in 1995, there were problems in 1996.
Kitch Christie, ill with cancer, was forced to retire as coach – an unbeaten coach. André Markgraaff succeeded him.
South Africa played New Zealand five times in 1996, losing four times – twice in the new Tri-Nations, in which the Springboks came second, and twice during the All Blacks’ first series victory in South Africa.
Francois Pienaar, the iconic captain of 1995, was not selected for the tour to Argentina and Europe at the end of the year, to a raucous outcry from the nation.
The tour went well with two test victories over the Pumas in Argentina, two over France in France and one over Wales.
It was also the year of the first Super 12 competition, won by the Auckland Blues who beat Natal in the final.
The Sevens Springboks reached the final of the World Sevens in Hong Kong, losing to Fiji in a close final.
The South African A team toured the UK and Ireland.
Natal won the Bankfin-Currie Cup.
The under 19 team was unbeaten at the FIRA tournament but “lost” a draw with Wales on a technicality.
The first year of professional rugby was expensive and problematic.

The second year of professionalism was also problematic.
The year started in the worst way possible with the resignation of the Springbok coach, André Markgraaff following the revelation of surreptitiously taped remarks of a racist nature. Carel du Plessis was appointed coach in his place.
On the playing front there seemed no real cause for concern. The Springboks had ended well in 1996, and the South African teams were not disgraced in the Super 12, which the Auckland Blues won.
The international season was disaster after disaster. The Springboks lost a series to a mediocre British Lions team and then went on to a record defeat by the All Blacks before it ended the season with a record victory over the Wallabies – too late to save Du Plessis’s coaching job.
Western Province won the Bankfin-Currie Cup, and then new coach Nick Mallett got his team together, and off they went to Europe.
On that tour the Springboks were to play the most sublime rugby of the decade.
The splendid Springboks played the last test to be played at Parc des Princes before the move to Stade de France. They gave France their biggest defeat ever as they scored seven tries, four by winger Pieter Rossouw.
The Springboks then gave England their heaviest defeat at Twickenham and Scotland their heaviest defeat ever as they scored 54 points in the second half to win 68-10.
Whilst things were improving on the Springbok front, matters were degenerating on the SARFU front as the government, at the prompting of Steve Tshwete, the minister of sport, instigated a process of inquiry into the affairs of SARFU.
In October SARFU challenged the validity of the government’s inquiry into rugby in court.

The court business got going in February and on 19 March 1998 President Nelson Mandela appeared in court to defend his action in sanctioning the inquiry. It was a horrible time for rugby.
SARFU won the case, but then Louis Luyt, after a SARFU vote of no-confidence in him, resigned on 10 May 1998, to be replaced as president by Silas Nkanunu.
SARFU introduced regionalisation in the Super 12, dividing the country into four regions.
The Coastal Sharks, Natal at heart, were the only regional team to perform at all well. Certainly the results were a lot worse than those of the provinces had been. The Coastal Sharks were third, the Western Stormers ninth, the Northern Bulls eleventh and the Golden Cats 12th.
The Vodacom Cup for provincial teams, with, for the first time, quotas of black players in each team, ran concurrently with the Super 12. Griqualand West were the first winners.
Western Samoa knocked the Springboks out of the Hong Kong sevens in the semi-final and out of the Commonwealth Games Sevens in the quarter-final.
The SANZAR Under 21 tournament was in South Africa. The home side came third behind Australia and Argentina.
The Lions won the Bankfin-Currie Cup.
The Springboks fought two tests against Ireland and then beat Wales and England, before winning the Tri-Nations unbeaten, including a 24-23 victory over New Zealand when the Springboks were down 23-5 with 12 minutes to go.
At the end of the year, a tour too far, the Springboks, losing lustre by the match, went off to Europe yet again. They came from behind to beat Wales, eventually beat Scotland, and profited from some individual brilliance to beat Ireland and equal the world record of 17 successive test victories before dragging themselves to Twickenham and defeat by England.

World Cup year again – and the dropping of Gary Teichmann to uproar. Joost van der Westhuizen became the captain in an uninspiring World Cup, but for an exhilarating victory of France over New Zealand in the semi-final and the Springboks’ quarter-final defeat of England in Paris when Jannie de Beer kicked a record of five drop-goals. The Springboks lost the no-try semi-final to Australia in extra time and then beat the All Blacks for third place.
André Watson of South Africa, at his first World Cup as a referee, refereed the final between Australia and France.
Generally it was a lacklustre year for the Springboks as they lost to Wales for the first time ever and won only one Tri-Nations match.
The Stormers were the best Super 12 side as they surged ahead on a tide of black, but they squabbled about money before a home semi-final and lost.
The best playing achievement in 1999 was the victory over the Under 21 side at the eight-team SANZAR tournament in Buenos Aires when they beat New Zealand 27-25 in a thrilling final, scoring three tries to one.

The highlight of the year was probably the Yesterday’s Heroes campaign that saw SARFU honour in splendid fashion all the players of the past who had played tests for the various national bodies which existed from time to time.
Transformation gathered pace. For the first time quotas of black players were introduced into the Bankfin-Currie Cup. There were nine black players on the huge Springbok team that toured at the end of the year.
After sharing a home series with England, the Springboks came last in the Tri-Nations with only an exciting victory over the All Blacks.
The aftermath of that defeat was the resignation of Nick Mallett and his replacement with Harry Viljoen.
Mallett had coached the Springboks through 38 tests – by far the most by any Springbok coach.
In the Super 12 the Cats made the semi-final.
In the IRB’s first World Sevens Series the Springboks came fifth.
The Under 21 team reached the final of the SANZAR championship, only to be thrashed by New Zealand.
The Under 19 team came sixth in the FIRA Championship.
France beat South Africa in the final of the Students World Cup.
The Confederation of African Rugby was inaugurated. South Africa was represented by the Under 23 team which won the southern half of the tournament by beating Namibia and Zimbabwe and then went on to beat Morocco in the final.
Western Province won the Bankfin-Currie Cup.
At the end of the year the Boks toured Argentina, Ireland, Wales and England on a nine-match tour. They beat Argentina, Ireland and Wales and lost to England. They also lost midweek matches to Ireland A and the England National Divisional XV, but they beat the Barbarians in splendid fashion as they ran and ran.

The growing commercialisation of the game led to the restructuring of rugby with SARFU approving the creation of a commercial arm, SA Rugby (Pty) Ltd. The company, with a board of directors, looks after competitions and all commercial enterprises, whilst SARFU, as the custodian of the game, looks after all non-commercial aspects of rugby, predominantly game development.
On the field things looked better initially as two South African teams made the Super 12 semi-finals the Cats and the Sharks.
France, looking young and uncertain, shared a series in South Africa, and South Africa came last in the Tri-Nations – an interesting last as they beat and drew with the eventual winners, Australia.
At the end of the year the Springbok lost to France and England, and then let players off to play for the Barbarians while they went on to the USA and an unimpressive performance in Houston.
The Sevens Springboks lost to Argentina in the quarter-final of the Sevens World Cup and again ended fifth in the IRB World Series.
A South African A team toured France, Georgia, England and Spain successfully.
The Under 23 team retained their Confederation of African Rugby Cup when they again beat Morocco in the final.
The Under 21s had a poor tournament ending ranked sixth after losing to Ireland.
The Under 19s were placed fifth in the FIRA-AER Junior World Championship played in Chile after losing to the eventual winners, New Zealand, in the quarter-finals.
Western Province retained the Bankfin-Currie Cup.

The Springboks journeyed to France among the favourites to lift the Webb Ellis Trophy. In a campaign that captured the imagination of the Rainbow Nation, the Bok delivered a second World Cup title when they beat defending champions England 15-6 in the final.