Tight­heads & Loose Balls

Sunday Times - - Sport Rugby -

● All Blacks flank Sam Cane, who frac­tured a bone in his neck at Lof­tus last week says he’s thank­ful that part of his body is thick.

“A few things to be thank­ful for,” he posted on Twit­ter. “Firstly, the cir­cum­fer­ence and strength of my neck, I may not be stand­ing without it. Se­condly, the world class med­i­cal and sur­gi­cal team I’ve had here in Pre­to­ria,” said Cane.

● The pay chan­nel who may or may not have had a cosy re­la­tion­ship with the Gup­tas through an ex­iled Mid­dle East­based ex­ec­u­tive, is aflut­ter.

The rea­son for Su­per­Sport’s flap­ping of wings is Spring­bok cap­tain Siya Kolisi’s role as brand am­bas­sador for Open View, the coun­try’s first free satel­lite HD TV ser­vice. Su­per­Sport, through their own­er­ship of lo­cal broad­cast rights, have al­ways been un­der the im­pres­sion they “own” the Boks, but ap­par­ently they don’t.

● Given all this talk of ex­ces­sive travel by south­ern hemi­sphere teams the Rugby Cham­pi­onships threw up one in­ter­est­ing statis­tic. Ex­actly half the matches played in this year’s in­stal­ment were won by the away team. Not too shabby for the travel- weary.

● “Ivan’s ex­pe­ri­ence, with this young team, is what I think we needed and then Em­brose will make a huge im­pact com­ing off the bench,” Bulls coach Pote Hu­man ex­plained his de­ci­sion to go with Ivan van Zyl ahead of Em­brose Papier for yes­ter­day’s clash against WP. “Luck­ily for me, Rassie (Eras­mus) hasn’t called me, so I made my own call for this one and it’s just ex­pe­ri­ence-wise that I de­cided to go with Ivan.”

Where Papier will get the nec­es­sary ex­pe­ri­ence heaven knows. He also spent an in­or­di­nate amount of time on the bench at the Boks and now runs the risk of be­ing called “splin­ters”. Some sug­gested he is only a Bok on pa­per.

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