Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Should Super Rugby Get Another South African Team? No Way


It is a difficult concept for New Zealanders to grasp why South Africa deserve a sixth team in the Super Rugby competition. It seems that politics would play a part in letting a team from the Port Elizabeth coloured melting pot get their Southern Kings into the competition, but should they take the place of another South African team, or should South Africa get the luxury of a sixth franchise team?

Australia and New Zealand would be disadvantaged by having an extra team in South Africa, especially if it is strictly a South African policy based on race which New Zealand and Australia don't have in their countries. The move would mean more away games and travel for the ANZACs, but it would also be a test of the depth of players in South Africa. I think that more teams would dilute the competition. The introduction of teams like the Melbourne Rebels and Western Force have been a mixed bag with player depth a major worry. I also think another team would mean not only more travel for players, but a longer Super Rugby competition with more games.

I think South Africa should only get five teams in the Super Rugby competition and they should be left to deal with which team to exclude themselves. Some of the South African teams have underperformed in recent years like the Lions in Super Rugby, yet at the same time they do have such a massive population in the Johannesburg region and in South Africa in general that it would be a shame for millions of people to miss out. Maybe they need to combine teams? Mind you, there is plenty of rivalry there.

I would suggest that the only way of getting a sixth South African team into Super Rugby would be to expand the competition into Argentina and maybe even Japan and the Pacific Islands. There could even be the opportunity for a global club tournament. But while teams remain from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, I don't think it is fair to have six South African teams.

Should South Africa get a sixth team in Super Rugby? Who should the Southern Kings replace? Is there enough depth to sustain another team in South Africa when you consider how average some of their teams are?


South Africa wants Super Rugby expanded to 16 teams and will lobby Sanzar partners New Zealand and Australia to make the change.

While they believe the expansion would benefit everyone, it is clearly designed to alleviate political considerations in their own back yard.

South Africa want a sixth team. Currently, all three countries have five teams playing in the conference-style championship.

But South Africa yesterday confirmed that the Southern Kings, a Port Elizabeth-based franchise built from the hotbed of coloured rugby, would come into the championship next year.

At the moment that means one of the Bulls, Sharks, Stormers, Lions or Cheetahs will have to make way for the Kings.

Who that might be could be known after the South African national body's annual meeting in March.

There is plenty at stake and it promises to be a fiery meeting.

But SA Rugby deputy president Mark Alexander suggested the best way out of the complex problem would be to lobby for a sixth side to be included in a new 16-team competition.

"We've got the five franchises looking at the model, but first prize, we are still lobbying our partners, we want to get a sixth franchise in. We believe it will be good for rugby and we don't want to see anybody go down," Alexander said yesterday.

"The last thing we want to do is to make a choice to push one of the franchises out.

"We understand if one drops out it is very difficult to come back and compete again the following year, it makes it almost impossible."

Timing will be an issue though with the Super Rugby broadcasting deal which covers the 15 teams set to be renegotiated in 2016.

"There is a window of opportunity with our partners, we are currently preparing a 16-team schedule so that we can go and debate with them," he said.

"I think our relationship with Sanzar has improved tremendously, we are very close to our partners in Australia and we work very closely with New Zealand and our relationship has changed.

"I think there is a window of opportunity provided we sell a workable solution about 16 franchises playing in the competition."

It seems the South African proposal is based around a simple round-robin format where all teams play each other, meaning 15 games for each side.

They are also suggesting a return to a four-team finals series to reduce the need to expand the length of the season.

But that is unlikely to meet with much support from their Australasian partners after the current move to six teams finals to keep more teams involved at the business end.


- © Fairfax NZ News


http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/super-rugby/6346247/South-Africa-Expand-Super-Rugby-to-16-teams

Ben Kende Quadraplegic Rugby Victim's Video

Ben Kende: Life Change from RugbyAsia Channel on Vimeo.



Dedicated to BEN KENDE a rising HK rugby star who had a horrific accident playing rugby in 2010. Fast forward to present day and Ben, now a quadraplegic fights to live a normal life. In between daily treatment, Ben supports his local rugby team every weekend. It's a different view of life for Ben who needs all the support he can get. Please donate generously to Ben and his family as he continues a new chapter of his life.

http://vimeo.com/35527697

Monday, January 30, 2012

2012 Hertz IRB Wellington Sevens Draw


Here is the draw for the 2012 Hertz IRB Wellington Sevens. When attending the Sevens you have to pick and choose when to attend because if you were in attendance for the entire tournament you would get tired. I would suggest showing up on Friday in time for either the New Zealand vs Scotland game at 3:12pm or the New Zealand vs Japan game which is more realistic in my case before 6:08pm. The last game of the first night starts at 9:56pm, so even if you arrive between 5-6pm you will get about five hours of action. It depends how committed you are. I notice that they are trying to reward those who show up early on both days and arrive sober.

2012 Hertz Sevens Draw

See below for the draw for the 2012 Hertz Wellington Sevens at Westpac Stadium on 3-4 February 2012.

IRB Sevens excitement comes to Wellington this February. The capital will have the chance to experience two days of top quality sevens rugby action in the carnival atmosphere Wellington is known for.

Pool Play starts at 1pm on Friday 3 February and runs through until 10:30pm that night. There will be a Parade of Nations at 8:20pm on Friday too. Saturday 4 February (Day Two) kicks off with Quarter Finals at 1pm, followed by the Semi Finals at 4pm and the Finals from 7:30pm.

Make sure you are in the Stadium for the glittering Cup Final at 9pm where the winners will be decided and presented with the tournament trophy.

Hertz Wellington Sevens 2012 Draw

POOL A: New Zealand, Samoa, Scotland, Japan

POOL B: South Africa, England, USA, Cook Islands

POOL C: Fiji, Wales, Argentina, Tonga

POOL D: France, Australia, Canada, Kenya

DAY 1 - Friday 3 February
MATCH NO. POOL TEAMS TIME
1 B1 v B3 South Africa v USA 1:00
2 B2 v B4 England v Cook Islands 1:22
3 C1 v C3 Fiji v Argentina 1:44
4 C2 V C4 Wales v Tonga 2:06
5 D1 v D3 France v Canada 2.28
6 D2 v D4 Australia v Kenya 2:50
7 A1 v A3 New Zealand v Scotland 3:12
8 A2 v A4 Samoa v Japan 3:34
9 B1 v B4 South Africa v Cook Islands 3:56
10 B2 v B3 England v USA 4:18
11 C1 v C4 Fiji v Tonga 4:40
12 C2 v C3 Wales v Argentina 5:02
13 D1 v D4 France v Kenya 5:24
14 D2 v D3 Australia v Canada 5:46
15 A1 v A4 New Zealand v Japan 6:08
16 A2 v A3 Samoa v Scotland 6:30
17 B3 v B4 USA v Cook Islands 6:52
18 C3 v C4 Argentina v Tonga 7:14
19 D3 v D4 Canada v Kenya 7:36
Parade of Nations 7:58
Women's Exhibition Match 8:10
20 A3 v A4 Scotland v Japan 8:28
21 B1 v B2 South Africa v England 8:50
22 C1 v C2 Fiji v Wales 9:12
23 D1 v D2 France v Australia 9:34
24 A1 v A2 New Zealand v Samoa 9:56


Day 2 - Saturday 4 February
MATCH NO. POOL / TEAMS DURATION TIME
25 ¼ Finals Bowl 3rd Pool A v 4th Pool D 22 minutes 1:00
26 ¼ Finals Bowl 3rd Pool C v 4th Pool B 22 minutes 1:22
27 ¼ Finals Bowl 3rd Pool D v 4th Pool A 22 minutes 1:44
28 ¼ Finals Bowl 3rd Pool B v 4th Pool C 22 minutes 2:06
Interval 5 Minutes
29 ¼ Finals Cup 1st Pool A v 2nd Pool D 22 minutes 2:33
30 ¼ Finals Cup 1st Pool C v 2nd Pool B 22 minutes 2:55
31 ¼ Finals Cup 1st Pool D v 2nd Pool A 22 minutes 3:17
32 ¼ Finals Cup 1st Pool B v 2nd Pool C 22 minutes 3:39
Interval 9 Minutes
33 SF Shield Loser Match 25 v Loser Match 26 22 minutes 4:10
34 SF Shield Loser Match 27 v Loser Match 28 22 minutes 4:32
35 SF Bowl Winner Match 25 v Winner Match 26 22 minutes 4:54
36 SF Bowl Winner Match 27 v Winner Match 28 22 minutes 5:16
37 SF Plate Loser Match 29 v Loser Match 30 22 minutes 5:38
38 SF Plate Loser Match 31 v Loser Match 32 22 minutes 6:00
Interval 13 Minutes
39 SF Cup Winner Match 29 v Winner Match 30 25 minutes 6:35
40 SF Cup Winner Match 31 v Winner Match 32 22 minutes 7:00
Interval 8 Minutes
41 Shield Final Winner Match 33 v Winner Match 34 30 minutes 7:30
42 Bowl Final Winner Match 35 v Winner Match 36 30 minutes 8:00
43 Plate Final Winner Match 37 v Winner Match 38 30 minutes 8:30
44 3rd & 4th place playoff Loser Match 39 v Loser Match 40 22 minutes 9.00
Draw for Pools 8 minutes 9.22
45 Cup Final Winner Match 39 v Winner Match 40 30 minutes 9:30
Presentations to take place after each final
3rd & 4th position play off requires 22 mins.


http://wotzon.com/eventlisting.php?event_id=5021745

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Inappropriate Costumes For The IRB Wellington Sevens




The IRB Wellington Sevens takes place on February 3rd and 4th and it will be interesting to see which costumes appear in the crowd. People spend plenty of money on costumes for this massive event, but in searching for an outfit to give them the unique advantage, I wonder if there will be people who cross the line? Is there a line to cross given the drunkeness and skimpy costumes which are on display?

Here are some costumes which I would suggest are very dubious, but no doubt there will be some versions of at the Wellington Sevens next week.

1) Blanket Man - There is always someone dressed as Wellington icon Blanket Man, but unfortunately he passed away earlier this month. This could well be in poor taste.

2) Borat - the Borat costume involving mankinis and any form of G-String has been banned for being too revealing and skimpy.

3) Miners - we were going to attend last year as the heroic Chilean miners. Unfortunately later on there was the tragic death of West Coast miners in New Zealand. Bad taste!

4) Cruise ship staff - since the tragic but somewhat comic situation involving the Costa Concordia cruise ship and the captain who kept making excuses for the accident, there will probably be someone who dresses up as this.

5) Christchurch earthquake - after the first major earthquake in Christchurch September 2010 people made a joke about surviving the Christchurch earthquake. Fast forward to February 2011 where 181 people were killed by a massive earthquake. It is a sensitive issue.

6) Rena - Would it be alright to come as something which involved the spilling of oil as the container ship Rena was damaged off the Bay of Plenty coast? It has finally come apart, but has ruined the lives of animals and people in a part of New Zealand that relies on beach access.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Word From Our Fans At - Pokerlistings.com


Poker can be like rugby at times. There is nothing like scoring a match winning try or winning that hand of poker with a full house. Sometimes you need the right combination of luck and enough skill to make the most of the cards you were dealt!

Playing the odds is nothing new here at Rugby Tips and if you like playing Online Poker you can have a go in the poker rooms at Pokerlistings.com

Before playing any game, whether it is tiddlewinks, rugby or poker, it is important to familiarise yourself with the rules. Check out these Pokerlistings.com poker rules!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sonny Bill Williams New Girlfriend Business Related?




All Black Sonny Bill Williams is going out with former rugby league star Matthew Ridge's daughter Jaime Ridge. She is only 18, but between them they seem like a glamourous couple. Given her heritage, it makes you wonder if this is some kind of business arrangement too, with her high profile parents making this couple the new version of Posh and Beckham. It also opens the door for a potential future boxing fight between Sonny Bill Williams and Matthew Ridge, who despite being the wrong side of 40 this days would be a strong competitor for Sonny Bill Williams. It would provide the family with some good money, although you do wonder about the credibility of boxing. It would make family gatherings interesting knowing that father and son-in-law want to knock each others block off! Would it be fixed to make sure Sonny Bill Williams doesn't lose?

I would still rather see Sonny Bill Williams fight a younger former kiwi rugby league international in Monty Betham, but I think there is too much fear that Sonny Bill Williams may not win.

All Black heartthrob Sonny Bill Williams has a new girlfriend - the daughter of another sports star.

Williams,26, has been seeing Aucklander Jaime Ridge, the teenage daughter of former league star Matthew and his ex-wife Sally.

The pair have been seeing each other for about three weeks and have been spotted out together. They have reportedly spent time together in Auckland where Ridge lives, and in Hamilton where Williams plays Super 14 rugby for the Chiefs.

"They're both very publicity shy and it's very early days for the relationship, but they have been spotted together on a regular basis," a source said.

However, Ridge is expected to be sitting in the front row at Williams' boxing bout next month.

"They are a very well-matched couple," said the source." Not only are they both gorgeous but they are both very family focussed and used to living life under the media spotlight - their values are the same."

Ridge, 18, is studying law and commerce at Auckland University.

She is a regular in the social pages with mum Sally, and recently featured in a Metro magazine photo shoot of Auckland celebrities.

She has done some modelling work, including at last year's Fashion Week where she modelled a lingerie creation designed by her mother.

Williams was last romantically linked with 21-year-old Cantabrian Aleisha Berryman.

His boxing bout against Clarence Tillman III for the NZ Boxing Association heavyweight title is in Hamilton on Feruary 8.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/6322518/Sonny-Bill-spotted-with-new-girlfriend

IRB Wellington Sevens Tickets Still Available On Sale

Ticketek has re-released some IRB Wellington Sevens tickets and they are available now for around $200. Get in quick! The initial batch of 9,000 tickets sold out in three minutes, but they must have got heaps of remaining 26,000 tickets returned to them from corporates. Come and we can hang out together at the Sevens!

http://premier.ticketek.co.nz/shows/seriesshowtickets.aspx?sh=EWRU0000012S&v=&p=

The Six Nations Rugby Championship 2012 Preview


The Six Nations Rugby Championship 2012 captains.

The RBS Six Nations 2012 starts next week and it will be interesting to see how teams kick on after the Rugby World Cup 2011.

The New Zealand TAB www.tab.co.nz has the following odds which indicate that France are favourites with Wales, England and Ireland the main threats.

The implications for www.testrugby.com managers suggest that it is best to go for France players since they start with two home matches against bottom ranked Italy and the fourth ranked Ireland team. They then play away to Scotland. So back the French to hopefully win their first three games well, although it depends whether Dr Jekyl or Mr Hyde shows up.


Six Nations Rugby Championships 2012 Odds

1 France 2.70
2 Wales 3.30
3 England 4.50
4 Ireland 6.00
5 Scotland 25.00
6 Italy 200.00

In summary,

France got to the Rugby World Cup 2011 final without their coach's help and so you would think they should be able to win this tournament without Marc Lievremont.

Wales had an exciting young team at the Rugby World Cup, but look set to be missing some key players for their Six Nations 2012 campaign. They showed during the Rugby World Cup that they had depth, but I wonder if they have enough to cover for players like Gethin Jenkins, Rhys Priestland, Shane Williams, Alun Wyn Jones and Luke Charteris.

England and Ireland need to change their teams if they are to be competitive. Both had their moments at the Rugby World Cup, but have too many older players who won't be around in four years. It is time to rebuild!

Scotland were disappointing at the Rugby World Cup and almost lost to Romania. They have a new captain in Ross Ford and a solid forward pack, but don't have enough firepower out wide.

Italy are favourites for the wooden spoon. They do have players capable of plenty of testrugby.com points because they have to make so many tackles.

Players to watch for assuming they are selected to play;

France - Loose forwards Thierry Dusautoir, Imanol Harinordoquy and Julien Bonnaire will be excellent value if they can repeat their Rugby World Cup 2011 final form. Based on the Rugby World Cup 2011 game William Servat and Vincent Clerc were the other top scoring France players.

Wales - Toby Faletau plays a style conducive to scoring plenty of points. Wales had some other high scoring players, but their locks Wyn Jones and Charteris will be sorely missed and if they do play will be worth the purchase. Other good point scoring players based on the Rugby World Cup 2011 include George North, Leigh Halfpenny, Jamie Roberts, Johnathon Davies, Sam Warburton, Huw Bennet and Mike Phillips. Wales play a style which tends to score more testrugby.com points than most other teams.

England - England didn't really troube the scorers at the Rugby World Cup 2011, but some players who seemed to score decently well were Manu Tuilagi, Ben Foden, Chris Ashton and James Haskell. Tuilagi will miss the Scotland game first up. It will be interesting to see how coach Stuart Lancaster. Plenty will depend on selections for them with South African Brad Barritt and if Toby Flood is fit.

Ireland - Declan Kidney will have to do without Brian O'Driscoll this year and he will be a major loss for Ireland. At the Rugby World Cup the best Ireland players were winger Keith Earls, Sean O'Brien, Jamie Heaslip, Robert Kearney and Rory Best.

Scotland needs major improvements if they are to be competitive in the Six Nations. Their best players during a disappointing Rugby World Cup 2011 campaign was Sean Lamont while Richie Gray was great value and Ross Ford will get plenty of game time as captain and hooker. This season could be a chance for youngster Duncan Weir.

Italian captain Sergio Parisse was by far the best Italy had to offer at the Rugby World Cup 2011. Based on testrugby.com points in New Zealand Leonardo Ghiraldini and Alessandro Zanni.

It is difficult to know what has happened to all of the great fly halves in the world, many of whom used to hail from the Northern Hemisphere. It seems that the next four years will see the new breed of fly halves take over from the greats of the past, but it will be interesting to see which of the new batch of players will sink or swim?

England

Forwards

Mouritz Botha
Calum Clark
Alex Corbisiero
Dan Cole
Tom Croft
Louis Deacon
Phil Dowson
Dylan Hartley
Courtney Lawes
Joe Marler
Lee Mears
Ben Morgan
Tom Palmer
Chris Robshaw
Matt Stevens
Rob Webber
David Wilson
Tom Wood

Backs

Chris Ashton
Brad Barritt
Mike Brown
Lee Dickson
Owen Farrell
Toby Flood
Ben Foden
Charlie Hodgson
Joe Simpson
Charlie Sharples
David Strettle
Manusamoa Tuilagi
Jordan Turner-Hall
Ben Youngs

Forwards

Fabien Barcella
Vincent Debaty
Luc Ducalcon
Nicolas Mas
Jean-Baptiste Poux
William Servat
Dimitri Szarzewski
Yoann Maestri
Romain Millo-Chluski
Pascal Pape
Julien Pierre
Imanol Harinordoquy
Thierry Dusautoir (captain)
Fulgence Ouedraogo
Yannick Nyanga
Louis Picamoles
Julien Bonnaire

Backs

Morgan Parra
Dimitri Yachvili
Lionel Beauxis
Francois Trinh-Duc
Yann David
Wesley Fofana
Maxime Mermoz
Aurelien Rougerie
Vincent Clerc
Julien Malzieu
Alexis Palisson
Maxime Medard
Clement Poitrenaud

Ireland

Forwards

Rory Best
Tom Court
Sean Cronin
Leo Cullen
Stephen Ferris
Cian Healy
Jamie Heaslip
Shane Jennings
Sean O'Brien
Donncha O'Callaghan
Paul O'Connell
Mike Ross
Donnacha Ryan

Backs

Tommy Bowe
Gordon D'Arcy
Keith Earls
Rob Kearney
Fergus McFadden
Conor Murray
Ronan O'Gara
Eoin Reddan
Jonathan Sexton
Andrew Trimble
Paddy Wallace

Forwards

Tommaso D'Apice
Leonardo Ghiraldini
Martin Castrogiovanni
Lorenzo Cittadini
Alberto de Marchi
Andrea Lo Cicero
Marco Bortolami
Quintin Geldenhuys
Antonion Pavanello
Cornelius van Zyl
Robert Barbieri
Mauro Bergamasco
Paul Derbyshire
Simone Favaro
Sergio Parisse
Alessandro Zanni

Backs

Edoardo Gori
Fabio Semenzato
Kristopher Burton
Luciano Orquera
Tommaso Benvenuti
Gonzalo Canale
Luca Morisi
Alberto Sgarbi
Angelo Esposito
Giulio Toniolattiv
Giovambattista Venditti
Andrea Masi
Luke Mclean

Scotland
Forwards

John Barclay
Kelly Brown
Geoff Cross
David Denton
Alasdair Dickinson
Ross Ford
Richie Gray
Dougie Hall
Jim Hamilton
Rob Harley
Allan Jacobsen
Alastair Kellock
Scott Lawson
Moray Low
Fraser McKenzie
Euan Murray
Ross Rennie
Alasdair Strokosch
Richie Vernon

Backs

Joe Ansbro
Mike Blair
Chris Cusiter
Simon Danielli
Nick De Luca
Max Evans
Stuart Hogg
Ruaridh Jackson
Lee Jones
Greig Laidlaw
Rory Lamont
Sean Lamont
Rory Lawson
Graeme Morrison
Dan Parks
Steven Shingler
Duncan Weir

Wales
Forwards

Craig Mitchell
Adam Jones
Ryan Bevington
Gethin Jenkins
Paul James
Rhys Gill
Rhodri Jones
*Matthew Rees
Huw Bennett
Ken Owens
Bradley Davies
Ian Evans
Lou Reed
*Ryan Jones
Dan Lydiate
*Sam Warburton
Justin Tipuric
Toby Faletau
Andy Powell

Backs

Mike Phillips
Lloyd Williams
Rhys Webb
Rhys Priestland
James Hook
Jamie Roberts
Jonathan Davies
Scott Williams
Gavin Henson
Ashley Beck
George North
Leigh Halfpenny
Alex Cuthbert
Harry Robinson
Liam Williams
Lee Byrne

http://www.espnscrum.com/six-nations-2012/rugby/series/133755.html

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hosea Gear To Play In Wellington Sevens


All Black and new Highlanders winger Hosea Gear has been added to the New Zealand Sevens squad to play at the Hertz Wellington Sevens on 3rd and 4th February. Gear will be looking to use the Sevens and Super Rugby season as a launching pad to push for a place in the All Blacks this season. It will be interesting to see how he goes. Some players take a while to click in Sevens after spending such a long time in the 15 man game. I went to the very first Wellington Sevens where New Zealand fielded Jonah Lomu, Christian Cullen and Caleb Ralph who were all stars of the 15 man game and it ended up being a disadvantage. Hopefully he will play and be unstoppable in Wellington!


New Zealand rugby sevens coach Gordon Tietjens has named four new caps in his 2012 national contracted squad, while All Blacks winger Hosea Gear has been released to play in next weekend's Wellington sevens tournament.

Wellington's Ardie Savea, 18, the younger brother of Hurricane and former New Zealand sevens player Julian Savea, has been named in Tietjens squad for the first time, with other new caps in the 15-strong squad including Hawke's Bay's Mark Jackman, Taranaki's Waisake Naholo and 19-year-old Lolagi Visina from Auckland.

The squad includes plenty of experience with senior players Lote Raikabula, captain DJ Forbes and playmaker Tomasi Cama all heading into their seventh season with the side.

Titejens said his squad had a good mix of youth and experience.

''DJ, Lote and Tomasi have played in over 40 tournaments and there are quite a few players in this squad that travelled to every tournament in the series last year which gives them invaluable experience to pass down to the younger players.

''There are some young players in this squad showing great promise which bodes well for the future as we head towards the 2016 Olympics.''

Meanwhile, new Highlander and All Blacks winger Hosea Gear will join the squad in Wellington on Friday.

Gear has made himself available for selection for the New Zealand leg of the world series and will be released by the Highlanders for the tournament should he be selected.

Squad:

Toby Arnold, Tomasi Cama, Scott Curry, DJ Forbes, Frank Halai, Bryce Heem, Mark Jackman, Solomon King, Tim Mikkelson, Waisake Naholo, Kylem O'Donnell, Charles Piutau, Lote Raikabula, Ardie Savea, Lolagi Visinia.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/6316933/NZ-sevens-named-Gear-in-line-for-Wellington

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Amy and the All Blacks - Something To Make The Bride Blush


Watch Amy and the All Blacks

The best man at a wedding made an awesome video for the happy couple suggesting that the bride had a history with former All Blacks Jonah Lomu, Jerry Collins, Doug Howlett and current All Black Sonny Bill Williams. This is classic!

A Kiwi bride with a string of famous 'ex-boyfriends; was forced to explain all on her wedding day when a video surfaced of her past conquests – leaving her a very blushing bride, literally.

But all was not as it seemed and the video, featuring past and present All Blacks, turned out to be a brilliant wedding gift for the newlyweds.

In a clip put together by her husband's best man, four All Blacks claim to be ex-lovers of the bride.

First Jonah Lomu tells her new husband, James Burnside, that he "better look after her" before Jerry Collins and Doug Howlett offer their congratulations.

But it was the appearance of a sweaty Sonny Bill Williams that really took the cake as he tells Amy,

"I just wanted to say that I still think of you all the time." SBW says "It's a shame you're getting married because I really thought we could be happy together. But I'm happy that you're happy."

The video was painstakingly put together over six months by the best man who wanted to surprise the rugby loving couple on their wedding day.


http://nz.sports.yahoo.com/rugby/news/article/-/12717753/abs-surprise-for-blushing-bride/

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sports Guru Competition 2012 - Enter Here!


<<2012 Sports Guru Tipping Comp.xlsx>>
Do you rate yourself as a sports punter of some repute? If so, put money where your mouth is and join the Sports Guru Competition 2012. I am a participant, but if you are interested then message me your email address and I can send you further details related to picking 79 sports result in the upcoming year. It costs $20 but gives you entertainment for the entire year. It would be great to have some more familiar punters.


Welcome to the 2012 Sports Guru Tipping Comp.

After a highly competitive inaugural season, 2012 is now upon us and with it comes a bevy of new sporting events. The inclusion of the Olympics, Euro 2012 and the Ryder Cup should make this a very memorable sporting year.

I have taken everyone’s ideas on board in regards to both the rules and events, and have come up with a few changes. The rules are outlined below, as well as a list of the key changes from 2011. I have also upped the total events this year from 51 to 78, and included a number of the suggestions that got thrown around towards the end of last year.

If you know of anyone who might be remotely interested in doing this, please forward them this email and encourage them to get involved.

Rules

1. The aim is to nominate the winner of the sporting events listed on the enclosed spreadsheet. There are 79 events in total in 2012.

2. The selections you make now will be fixed and must be submitted to me by email on the enclosed spreadsheet by 5pm Tuesday, 31 January.

3. All selections are locked in for the full year (other than your three allowed changes – see ‘Notable Rule Changes’ below)

4. The entry fee is $20 - 1st place takes 50% of the prize pool, 2nd place 20%, 3rd place takes 15%, 4th place takes 10% and 5th place takes 5%.

5. A winning selection is awarded three (3) points and one (1) point is allocated for a runner up or beaten finalist. One point is not awarded in certain events where there are limited entries (shown on the spreadsheet). Please note you only need to nominate a winner for every event.

6. Double points will be awarded if a participant successfully tips a result that no one else chooses (red). Participants will also nominate 4 events (yellow) for double points which will apply for winning or runner up results. A maximum of 12 points could be available per ‘regular’ events should both the above occur in a particular event.

7. Eight ‘Super Events’ have also been nominated whereby points will be awarded according to the Centrebet Fixed Odds as at 5pm Tuesday 31 January. Points will be rounded to the nearest whole dollar. If your selection is the runner up, you will receive ¼ of the ‘win odds’, rounded to the nearest whole dollar. Note: this could be zero! Neither the ‘yellow’ or ‘red’ bonus points will be eligible for these super events. Also, I have provided a list of odds in the second tab in the spreadsheet for your reference.

8. Please feel free to pass this invitation on to others as the more entries the bigger the prize pool.

9. Regular updates on scoring will be provided (monthly) and in the event of any grievances my decision will be final. The reference for disputed decisions will be Centrebet rules and conditions.

Notable Rule Changes from 2011

· There are now 8 odds-based events instead of 6. These are clearly highlighted in green on the attached spreadsheet.

· A number of new events have been included (Superbowl, Olympics, Euro 2012, as well as a number of new fields for existing events)

· In June, you may change three of your tips (for events that have not yet started). These can be emailed to me anytime you like, but must relate to events in the second half of the year.

· There are three horse races included this year (Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup). Rather than take stupid stabs in the dark in January, you can now submit your tips for these events right up until the day before the race. I will send out a reminder as each of these races approaches.

· As I hope to get more people involved this year, there will be a payout to the Top 5 (split 50:20:15:10:5) of the total prize pool.

Feel free to pass the email onto others (in fact please do – the bigger prize pool the better). We had 22 people involved last year, but it would be good to hit the 50 mark this year and get that prize pool up above a grand.

RBS Six Nations 2012 Rugby Squads


French captain and IRB Player of the Year 2011 - Thierry Dusautoir


England

Forwards

Mouritz Botha
Calum Clark
Alex Corbisiero
Dan Cole
Tom Croft
Louis Deacon
Phil Dowson
Dylan Hartley
Courtney Lawes
Joe Marler
Lee Mears
Ben Morgan
Tom Palmer
Chris Robshaw
Matt Stevens
Rob Webber
David Wilson
Tom Wood

Backs

Chris Ashton
Brad Barritt
Mike Brown
Lee Dickson
Owen Farrell
Toby Flood
Ben Foden
Charlie Hodgson
Joe Simpson
Charlie Sharples
David Strettle
Manusamoa Tuilagi
Jordan Turner-Hall
Ben Youngs

Forwards

Fabien Barcella
Vincent Debaty
Luc Ducalcon
Nicolas Mas
Jean-Baptiste Poux
William Servat
Dimitri Szarzewski
Yoann Maestri
Romain Millo-Chluski
Pascal Pape
Julien Pierre
Imanol Harinordoquy
Thierry Dusautoir (captain)
Fulgence Ouedraogo
Yannick Nyanga
Louis Picamoles
Julien Bonnaire

Backs

Morgan Parra
Dimitri Yachvili
Lionel Beauxis
Francois Trinh-Duc
Yann David
Wesley Fofana
Maxime Mermoz
Aurelien Rougerie
Vincent Clerc
Julien Malzieu
Alexis Palisson
Maxime Medard
Clement Poitrenaud

Ireland

Forwards

Rory Best
Tom Court
Sean Cronin
Leo Cullen
Stephen Ferris
Cian Healy
Jamie Heaslip
Shane Jennings
Sean O'Brien
Donncha O'Callaghan
Paul O'Connell
Mike Ross
Donnacha Ryan

Backs

Tommy Bowe
Gordon D'Arcy
Keith Earls
Rob Kearney
Fergus McFadden
Conor Murray
Ronan O'Gara
Eoin Reddan
Jonathan Sexton
Andrew Trimble
Paddy Wallace

Forwards

Tommaso D'Apice
Leonardo Ghiraldini
Martin Castrogiovanni
Lorenzo Cittadini
Alberto de Marchi
Andrea Lo Cicero
Marco Bortolami
Quintin Geldenhuys
Antonion Pavanello
Cornelius van Zyl
Robert Barbieri
Mauro Bergamasco
Paul Derbyshire
Simone Favaro
Sergio Parisse
Alessandro Zanni

Backs

Edoardo Gori
Fabio Semenzato
Kristopher Burton
Luciano Orquera
Tommaso Benvenuti
Gonzalo Canale
Luca Morisi
Alberto Sgarbi
Angelo Esposito
Giulio Toniolattiv
Giovambattista Venditti
Andrea Masi
Luke Mclean

Scotland
Forwards

John Barclay
Kelly Brown
Geoff Cross
David Denton
Alasdair Dickinson
Ross Ford
Richie Gray
Dougie Hall
Jim Hamilton
Rob Harley
Allan Jacobsen
Alastair Kellock
Scott Lawson
Moray Low
Fraser McKenzie
Euan Murray
Ross Rennie
Alasdair Strokosch
Richie Vernon

Backs

Joe Ansbro
Mike Blair
Chris Cusiter
Simon Danielli
Nick De Luca
Max Evans
Stuart Hogg
Ruaridh Jackson
Lee Jones
Greig Laidlaw
Rory Lamont
Sean Lamont
Rory Lawson
Graeme Morrison
Dan Parks
Steven Shingler
Duncan Weir

Wales
Forwards

Craig Mitchell
Adam Jones
Ryan Bevington
Gethin Jenkins
Paul James
Rhys Gill
Rhodri Jones
*Matthew Rees
Huw Bennett
Ken Owens
Bradley Davies
Ian Evans
Lou Reed
*Ryan Jones
Dan Lydiate
*Sam Warburton
Justin Tipuric
Toby Faletau
Andy Powell

Backs

Mike Phillips
Lloyd Williams
Rhys Webb
Rhys Priestland
James Hook
Jamie Roberts
Jonathan Davies
Scott Williams
Gavin Henson
Ashley Beck
George North
Leigh Halfpenny
Alex Cuthbert
Harry Robinson
Liam Williams
Lee Byrne

http://www.espnscrum.com/six-nations-2012/rugby/series/133755.html

New Zealand Winger James Paterson Banned For Drugs


New Zealand winger James Paterson has been banned for four months after using a banned substance at the Rugby World Cup 2011 when he played for the United States of America. It seems that this was a misunderstanding after he was given the wrong drugs following a shoulder injury. I am curious because I know so many sportsmen, myself included, who do play sport after taking drugs and it must be so difficut to know what is banned and what isn't. You would think the medical staff would know better. Is this any worse than the reputation a player would get for knowingly taking steroids or other performance enhancing drugs?

I have taken particular interest in this because I am a Highlanders and Southland fan. Paterson is quick, but very injury prone.

Leading New Zealand winger James Paterson has been banned from rugby for four months for using a banned substance.

The International Rugby Board said Paterson, who played for the United States at last year's Rugby World Cup, had tested positive for the painkiller oxycodone during the tournament in New Zealand. Oxycodone is classified by world doping body WADA as a narcotic and is prohibited in competition only.

Paterson provisional ban began on October 13 last year and he can return to rugby on February 13.

The 24-year-old, who has represented both the Crusaders and Highlanders at Super Rugby level, along with Canterbury and Southland domestically, disclosed the medication he was on when he underwent drug testing following the RWC test against Italy in Nelson on September 27.

Paterson had suffered a shoulder injury in an earlier game against Russia.

The USA team physician had prescribed and dispensed oxycodone to him, much to the disappointment of USA Rugby chief executive Nigel Melville.

"We must sincerely apologise to James who was very understanding and candid throughout this entire ordeal," Melville said in a statement.

"James's character or integrity should not be in question whatsoever.

"Trust is at the center of this issue, and James was acting on the trust he had in the medical staff. Unfortunately, the blame lies with the player rather than the doctor who made a serious error."

IRB Anti-Doping Manager Tim Ricketts said lessons could be learned from the Paterson case.

"The main message to come from this error is that all medical personnel and players must be diligent in checking all medications whether it be over the counter or prescription medicine to ensure it does not contain any prohibited substances. Under the strict liability principle a player is responsible for any prohibited substance found in their system."

Melville noted that his medical and support staff would be better informed.

"We need to have a clear system of checks and balances and, ultimately, make sure nothing like this ever happens again."

Paterson was born in Christchurch and spent time growing up in Hungary and the United States, where his mother is from.

He played American Football at high school and also represented the US at age group level.

Upon returning to Christchurch, he signed with the Crusaders in 2006, before playing at Super Rugby level in 2008 and 2009.

He joined Southland and the Highlanders a year later.



http://www.highlanders-rugby.co.nz/net/team/profile.aspx?id=17

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Vote For New Zealand Sporting Moment of 2011 - Will The All Blacks Win The Prize?


The Halberg Awards are coming up and the public voting is underway for the Sporting Highlight of 2011. There are six options so please vote down the side of this website. The All Blacks or Valerie Adams must be frontrunners, but it seems that because they were expected to win, then they may not get as many votes. The Warriors win over the Melbourne Storm to make the NRL Grand Final and Doug Bracewell's cricket exploits against Australia in the drawn series could spice things up. Vote down the side panel.

2011 has been a very good year for New Zealand sport, so it makes it a difficult decision to make.

I think the All Blacks should win it, but could well foolishly be overtaken by the pleasantly surprising performances by the Blackcaps or the Warriors.

All Blacks' fans have mobilised to ensure the final whistle of the Rugby World Cup final is back in contention for New Zealand's Favourite Sporting Moment of the year at the upcoming Halberg Awards.

Rugby fans were prompted into action following recent speculation that Lewis Brown's try against Melbourne, to send the Warriors to the NRL grand final, was leading the count.

There have also been surges in voting for the Breakers' historic win in last year's ANBL final against the Taipans, meaning the race for the award is likely to come down to a battle between rugby, rugby league and basketball.

Public voting opened on December 28 and the winner will be announced by Prime Minister John Key at the Halberg Awards in Auckland on February 9.

The six candidates for the Favourite Sporting Moment, are (in chronological order):

1. NZ Breakers - Win Australian National Basketball League Championship; Breakers v Taipans, ANBL final, North Shore, New Zealand

2. Valerie Adams - Dominates the field to win Gold; IAAF world championships, Daegu, Korea

3. Men's Pair - Hamish Bond and Eric Murray win gold; world rowing championships, Bled, Sloveniahttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

4. NZ Warriors - Lewis Brown's try sends Warriors to NRL grand final; Warriors v Storm, NRL preliminary final, Melbourne, Australia

5. All Blacks - The final whistle; All Blacks v France, Rugby World Cup final, Auckland, New Zealand

6. Blackcaps - Doug Bracewell bowls Nathan Lyon to win test match; Blackcaps v Australia, Hobart, Australia.


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=10779756

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How To Coach A Super Rugby Franchise - Highlanders


Here is an interesting video by the Highlanders assistant coach Keiran Keane on how to coach a Super Rugby franchise and what it involves. I am looking forward to seeing the rejuvenated Highlanders in action this season! They have recruited some All Blacks and have retained most of their promising squad from the 2011 season.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wellington Sevens 2012 Survival Guide


The biggest costume party in New Zealand takes place in just over two weeks and here is a guide I found on Stuff. The key is to carry cash, I reckon and to be selective about where you sit so that you aren't the one who gets someone throwing up on them!
Remember it is a bit of a marathon, so you will find that most people don't arrive until later on, like after work on the Friday or about mid afternoon on the Saturday. I always like sitting around the far end of the stadium where there a less queues and traffic. It is always fun looking at all the costumes and going to the stadium together in a group. Last year the weather was average, but that wasn't a bad thing in some ways, so you didn't get sunburnt. My motto is safety in numbers, it is good having a big group of friends so you can create a good environment. We sat amongst the Tongan fans last time who seemed to be good value without being too boozed or annoying. The thing to remember is not to take anything too seriously with the Sevens. People just go along to have a good time, hopefully our costumes don't encourage fights!


If you've scored tickets to the 2012 Hertz Sevens, our survival guide has everything you need to know to make the most of Wellington's biggest party.

HOW TO GET THERE

Those catching a bus should ride it all the way to the Lambton Quay interchange. The bus terminal is next to the main walkway entry point near the railway station at the south end of Thorndon Quay.

If you're on a train, there are special access ramps from Wellington Station to the stadium's elevated walkway.

Sober drivers can use the stadium parking, where vehicle access is off Waterloo Quay.

TranzMetro will be running extra services on all lines except the Wairarapa line on both Friday and Saturday.

The stadium shuttle will be running to and from the event, linking the central city to the stadium. It's $3 per adult and $2 per child. The shuttle stops are:

Te Papa Main Entrance, Cable St
Bus Terminus, Courtenay Place
St James Theatre, Courtenay Place
Cuba Mall, Dixon St
Mid City Centre, 18 Manners St
Grand Arcade, 20 Willis St

For more information see the Hertz Sevens website.

FOOD AND DRINK

Keep fuelled up for all the action with plenty of food and rehydration.

No full drinks can be brought into the venue but if you bring an empty bottle you can fill it at the eight free water stations.

Small amounts of food such as sandwiches, fruit and potato chips may be taken in, but not hot food.

Food and drink will be sold at the stadium but bring cash because not all stands accept Eftpos and ATM queues inside can be long. There are 14 food and drink outlets on the concourse and food prices range from $3 to $8. Drinks include non-alcoholic soft drinks and water, as well as beer, wine and cider.

Be aware that police are clamping down on boozing at this year's event. Police officers will be stationed at stadium liquor outlets during the tournament to monitor alcohol sales and ensure grossly intoxicated fans are not served.

Drunks or anyone caught smuggling in their own alcohol will be denied entry.

WHERE TO STAY

Those coming to Wellington especially for the Sevens should check out WellingtonNZ.com or Travelbug.

Downtown Backpackers is opposite the railway station and only a short walk from the stadium. Both the Ibis Hotel and Kingsgate Hotel are also close.
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WHAT TO WEAR

The Sevens is nearly more about the fashion off the field than the action on the pitch so a costume is essential. The only way to cop more flack than a hairy male in a Borat mankini is to come in jeans and a t-shirt (coincidentally, the Borat costume has been banned).

Also off limits are bare feet, gang apparel, mimicking security with high a visibility vest or costumes containing profanity.

For those who have left their costume planning late there are plenty of options in the city. The Costume Company on Willis Street and Costume Cave on Wakefield Street can kit you out or if your're in Lower Hutt, try Totally Frocked and Jesters costume hire.

WHAT TO TAKE

An empty water bottle less than 1 litre in capacity.
Plenty of sunscreen.
A cell phone with credit, in case you lose your mates.
Cash, because not every stand accepts Eftpos or credit.
A small bag to hold your belongings that fits 'neatly' under a seat.

WHAT NOT TO TAKE

Any form of liquid, it will be emptied on arrival.
Hot food.
Any item that resembles a weapon whether fake or real.
A chilly bin.
A foul mouth or abusive attitude.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/sport/sevens-2012/6247625/Wellington-Sevens-survival-guide

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Rugby League To Upset Rugby At New Zealand Halberg Sports Awards







The New Zealand Warriors look set to upstage the Rugby World Cup 2011 winning All Blacks to win the New Zealand public voting for New Zealand's Favourite Sporting Moment of 2011. This would be a massive upset, but in some ways the New Zealand Warriors making the NRL Grand Final represents a better achievement than the highly fancied All Blacks winning the 2011 Rugby World Cup on home soil.

I think that All Blacks fans probably just assumed the All Blacks winning the Rugby World Cup 2011 would win easily, but I think the fact that the Warriors were not expected to make the NRL Grand Final thanks to that great try by Lewis Brown against the Melbourne Storm is probably the main reason. Rugby fans probably haven't bothered voting for their team.

The All Blacks should win most of the Halberg awards given that they won a World Cup for the first time in 24 years, but they were playing at home and were hot favourites. I think the salary cap makes the NRL a far more even contest with far more potential competition winners, in some way this makes the Warriors achievements in making final an amazing effort. We do have to remember that the Warriors didn't win the NRL and still haven't won it.

Should public voting be used to decide award winners? We all remember when the Blackcaps beat Australia in the second cricket test in Hobart, with David Warner being named man of the match. I think rugby league fans, like Australians are far more passionate about their team and probably voted heaps.

The Warriors could be just weeks away from what might be their finest victory – knocking the world champion All Blacks off their pedestal.

In a remarkable turn of events, with little more than three weeks remaining in official public voting for New Zealand's Favourite Sporting Moment of 2011, an upset for the ages looks like it could be in the making.

The Sunday Star-Times understands that as at the end of the week, the defining moment of the Warriors' season is trumping the equivalent one for the All Blacks, setting up the likelihood of a monumental boilover when the winner is announced at the Westpac-sponsored Halberg Awards on February 9.

The awards dinner in Auckland has officially sold out.

The Sporting Moment is a recent addition to the annual awards and is run in conjunction with High Performance Sport New Zealand. It is designed to acknowledge the significance of a special achievement on our sporting fields.

There are six finalists in the running for the category which is voted on by the public, but the two football codes appear to have cleared out from the field.

The Warriors' special moment is the Lewis Brown try against Melbourne that sent them through to their second NRL Grand Final, while the All Blacks' is the final whistle in the attritional Rugby World Cup final against France, won 8-7.

Other contenders for the award are: the NZ Breakers claiming the Australian National Basketball League championship; Valerie Adams crushing the field to take shot put gold at the IAAF world champs in Korea; Hamish Bond and Eric Murray winning world champs rowing gold in Slovenia; and Doug Bracewell bowling Nathan Lyon to secure test cricket victory for the Black Caps against Australia in Hobart.

It's understood that by Friday the Warriors had a significant lead in voting over the All Blacks, with the Breakers surprising a few by running third, well ahead of the Black Caps' dramatic heroics in Hobart.

Halberg Awards organisers are expected to confirm the Warriors' lead in the voting process when they update media on the public award this week.

For an achievement that did not even clinch an NRL title to nudge out the All Blacks' effort would be a major upset.

There are a couple of theories that might explain the surprise voting patterns, especially in a country that takes its rugby as seriously as New Zealand.


The Warriors could be just weeks away from what might be their finest victory – knocking the world champion All Blacks off their pedestal.

In a remarkable turn of events, with little more than three weeks remaining in official public voting for New Zealand's Favourite Sporting Moment of 2011, an upset for the ages looks like it could be in the making.

The Sunday Star-Times understands that as at the end of the week, the defining moment of the Warriors' season is trumping the equivalent one for the All Blacks, setting up the likelihood of a monumental boilover when the winner is announced at the Westpac-sponsored Halberg Awards on February 9.

The awards dinner in Auckland has officially sold out.

The Sporting Moment is a recent addition to the annual awards and is run in conjunction with High Performance Sport New Zealand. It is designed to acknowledge the significance of a special achievement on our sporting fields.

There are six finalists in the running for the category which is voted on by the public, but the two football codes appear to have cleared out from the field.

The Warriors' special moment is the Lewis Brown try against Melbourne that sent them through to their second NRL Grand Final, while the All Blacks' is the final whistle in the attritional Rugby World Cup final against France, won 8-7.

Other contenders for the award are: the NZ Breakers claiming the Australian National Basketball League championship; Valerie Adams crushing the field to take shot put gold at the IAAF world champs in Korea; Hamish Bond and Eric Murray winning world champs rowing gold in Slovenia; and Doug Bracewell bowling Nathan Lyon to secure test cricket victory for the Black Caps against Australia in Hobart.

It's understood that by Friday the Warriors had a significant lead in voting over the All Blacks, with the Breakers surprising a few by running third, well ahead of the Black Caps' dramatic heroics in Hobart.

Halberg Awards organisers are expected to confirm the Warriors' lead in the voting process when they update media on the public award this week.

For an achievement that did not even clinch an NRL title to nudge out the All Blacks' effort would be a major upset.

There are a couple of theories that might explain the surprise voting patterns, especially in a country that takes its rugby as seriously as New Zealand.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/league/6258423/League-set-for-big-win-over-rugby-at-Halbergs

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Super Rugby - Willie Ripia Quits Force After Being Caught Stealing


New Zealander Willie Ripia has quit the Western Force Super Rugby team after being caught stealing money from a team-mate in the changing rooms via CCTV footage. It is probably the best move for him in some ways as he would have to earn the trust and respect of his team-mates again. I must say that as a player he is only a solid player but good enough to get a Super Rugby contract. I wonder what he will do now? Any future team-mates of his will probably proceed with caution.

New Zealand rugby player Willie Ripia is reported to have quit Australian Super Rugby side the Western Force after being caught stealing from his teammates.

The former Taranaki, Hurricanes and New Zealand Maori first-five eighth was captured on CCTV taking money from the changing rooms at the Force’s Mount Claremont headquarters.

Management was said to be considering whether to sack or suspend Ripia before the player offered his resignation.

Players are reported to have complained to management for months about money going missing.

Ripia had allegedly been suspected of taking the cash but denied any involvement.

But when he was told about the CCTV footage the 26-year-old confessed.

It is believed Ripia has had counseling arranged by the club to tackle a gambling issue.

It is believed none of the players whose money was taken are pressing charges.
The loss of Ripia will come as a major blow ahead of the new Super Rugby season.


http://nz.sports.yahoo.com/rugby/news/article/-/12553075/kiwi-quits-super-rugby-side-after-stealing/

Monday, January 09, 2012

Wellington Sevens Costumes- What Should We Go As?


We are going to the Wellington Sevens as a group, but it seems that no matter what idea is put forward, there is always someone who disagrees. Factors which dictate costumes are price, time taken to prepare, availability, comfort and style.

The options we have narrowed it down to are
Boxers
Pilots and air hostesses
Wearing sewn together flags
Lifeguards

Most of these would be purchased costumes and depend on availability. The flags would require sewing of some description.

What do you think would be the best option for Wellington Sevens costumes?