Paul Ackford on Smit …

To those of you playing in the Front Row Grunt World Cup SuperBru pool, thank you … Up for grabs a FRG t-shirt and a freebie from the Keg King guys – a brilliant way to serve ice cold draught beer to your rugby watching mates on a Saturday afternoon, or morning – on a RWC day!

Congrats to SuperBru rookie Farrs (aka Farryl Singh), who tops the leaderboard after round 1 – on 12.25 points, with a whole host of troops on 12 points …

I am positively mid-table morass at 315th on the log … Even with a full house of correct predictions … Messy.

Next round starts tomorrow at 04h30 with the Fiji vs Namibia game … Hope you have made your picks … Two sneaky games in USA vs Russia and Tonga vs Canada … Suddenly not so simple!

I have gone with the following:

Samoa v Namibia: Samoa by 24
Tonga v Canada: Tonga by 7
Scotland v Georgia: Scotland by 12

Russia v USA: USA by 9

New Zealand v Japan: New Zealand by 42


Given my call for John Smit to spend some time on the Bok periphery in my last post, I was interested to see ex England lock Paul Ackford agreeing with me in his column in the Telegraph:

And now Smit is finished, even if he appears reluctant to acknowledge the fact himself. The thing with great players is that they never fall off the cliff altogether. The descent into ordinariness is gentle, complicated by the defiant flourish, the temporary return to form. Veterans forwards know how to get by, know how to hang on at the edge of rucks and mauls rather than battling away in the centre of them. They invented most of the shortcuts, and their game management skills can often mask their decline.

Against Wales, de Villiers replaced Smit with Bismarck du Plessis after 56 minutes when his side was behind on the scoreboard and struggling to regain control of the Test. It was exactly the time when all of Smit’s leadership skills and experience should have counted. But de Villiers was forced to bring du Plessis on, a more energetic and credible candidate, because Smit was fading. Smit was not the only one.

No team has ever won back to back Rugby World Cups and this is why. Coaches, either for sentimental reasons or because they cannot identify the moment when a legend finally becomes a liability, instinctively hang on to the guys who have served them so well.


And finally, the Rugby World Cup 2011 by the Numbers, according to research done by MasterCard:

  • 95 000 international fans will be visiting New Zealand for RWC 2011
  • US$224.5 million made on ticket revenue based on sales of 1.35 million tickets
  • US$204.1 million to be spent on accommodation during the Tournament
  • US$187.7 million to be spent on food and beverage
  • 7.5 million litres of beer to be poured
  • 7.35 million pies and sausages to be consumed
  • 150,000 litres of sports drinks to be consumed


I’ll take one or two of those 7.5 million litres, thanks barman …