The Roar
The Roar

Istanbul Wingman

Roar Guru

Joined February 2019







Former New Zealand journalist teaching in Istanbul. Fave teams - Canes and Jags. Can be found chatting live on Twitter:



Thanks, Ian. I was just getting started in journalism at the time and doing the rounds of Wellington club rugby myself for a local rag. But it’s a looooooong time ago now. Memory’s hazy 😂

The ten best union to league converts

Yes, that might be it, Pickett. Thanks.

The ten best union to league converts

Yes, it was surprising, because he certainly didn’t appear set for greatness in the union code, fighting for a place in the Poneke 1st XV as he was. Mind you, he was only about 20 when he switched, so still a kid, basically.

The ten best union to league converts

You’re right. Wonder where I got that idea from. 😛

The ten best union to league converts

All’s well here, thanks. Apart from the lock down, of course! I’m keeping busy discussing world politics on Twitter these days. 😂

The ten best union to league converts

Didn’t Ellery Hanley come from a union background?

Closer to home, Richie Blackmore was one who astonished me. He was struggling to make the Poneke senior team in Wellington club rugby, as I recall, then suddenly popped up in league and helped the Kiwis to an epic with over the Roos in Melbourne!

The ten best union to league converts

Good luck to him!

Pichot launches bid for rugby's top job

Long before that even. Have a listen to this:

Too right Richie! World Rugby need to get a grip on time-sucking scrums

Fantastic news! Georgia invited to the 2020 Currie Cup. Yes, this would be the competition the Jaguares’ Development team won in a canter this year, effectively the South African 2nd division. I don’t believe there was any prospect of promotion, meaning the South Americans should meet the Lelos next year. Namibia withdrew this season for financial reason, but were involved the year before that, mostly getting thrashed week in, week out.

Kenya were invited some years ago though it never transpired, as far as I know, presumably also for financial reasons, and big & strong as they made be, the Simbas have undeniably gone backward since then. Zimbabwe edged them to win the revived Victoria Cup this rear, and the Sables are of course much closer geographically (pre-independence Rhodesia having been a regular participant). But again it is a question of standards and finances – particularly the latter. Zimbabwe is still involved in SA club and age-grade competitions, at least, including Craven Week, I believe.

Meanwhile, we all know Georgia has world class forwards, but this will be an opportunity to develop their back play on those hard, sunbaked grounds. With the Fijian Drua already playing in Australian domestic competition, and Uruguay interacting with Argentina at club level, perhaps the onus should now be on NZ to include Samoa & Tonga in its national provincial championships

Too right Richie! World Rugby need to get a grip on time-sucking scrums

2020s Wish List

1 2023 World Cup – Les Bleus triumph, gli Azzurri make 1/4s, Welwitschias win a game, Spain qualifies – scores a try!

2 2027 & 2031 World Cups awarded to SA & USA, respectively (announcement due 2021).

3 2027 World Cup – expansion to 24, Brazil, Kenya & a 2nd Asian team qualify. SA v NZ finale to determine first 4-time winner.

4 Samoa to reach 2020 Olympics, Chinese women to win a medal

5 Les Bleus to win a 6 Nations title or three. Gli Azzurri to finish in the top half of the table and win a title by end of decade.

6 Super Rugby to add a Pacific Island franchise. Canes build a dynasty. Move over, Saders!

7 Rapid Rugby to prosper and expand, drawing in teams from NZ, Japan, China & South Asia, and perhaps a Hawaiian-based franchise.

8 MLR to prosper and expand, moving to bigger stadiums and prime-time TV. Move over, NFL!

9 SLAR to prosper and expand, at least double the number of teams – including Porto Alegre!

10 More 3rd tier African players pick up pro contracts in Europe, perhaps filling the void if Pacific Islanders flock to GRR and the new Japanese pro league.

11 Tier 1 nations to include tests against 2nd and 3rd tier nations on tours. ie Namibia en route to SA, Uruguay en route to Argentina, Georgia en route to 6 Nations, Pacific Islands en route to/in NZ & Aussie.

12 6 Nations to merge with ENC with inclusion of promo-relegation fixture. Pacific Islands to merge with Asian Top 3 (including Japan).

Collective failure of the Six Nations

Awards of the Decade

Just to get the ball rolling. Feel free to add your own choices and categories.

Event of the Decade: Olympics 7s. Fiji’s emphatic win the stuff of fairy-tales

Honorable mention: 2019 RWC, despite the typhoons, produced a stunning final, Japan’s own success and Uruguay’s surprise win over Fiji.

Disappointment: African Gold Cup, lopsided results, acrimony between teams, administrative manipulation leading to eventual collapse

Match of the Decade: 2019 World Cup final, had it all, minor upset in terms of result, non-white captain and try-scorers – Boks’ first ever tries in a final.

Honorable mention: Japan’s win over Boks at 2015 RWC might just have been the biggest upset ever.

Disappointment: More than one of the play-off games at the 2011 RWC spring to mind, but I’ll go with the NZ vs Lions finale in 2017 when a dodgy call at the end denied the latter.

1st tier Team of the Decade: New Zealand, 2/3 RWCs, overwhelming domination of the rankings, multiple RC titles, etc, etc.

Honorable mentions – SAfrica – 2019 RWC, Argentina – 2nd RWC semi-final appearance (2015)

Disappointment – Italy, successive spoons in the 6 Nations, no wins in sight and still can’t make the RWC quarters.

2nd tier Team of the Decade: Japan, has beaten SA, Ireland and Scotland at the last 2 RWCs, as well as Samoa (twice), and reached the quarterfinals this year.

Honorable mentions: US – 2017/2018 ARC champs, win over Scotland. Fiji beat France in Paris, among other achievements

Disappointment – Romania/Canada. Oaks disqualified from 2019 World Cup and also managed to lose to Germany. Canada hasn’t made any impression for a long while and had to qualify for this year’s World Cup through the repechages.

3rd tier Team of the Decade: Brazil, 2018 South American champions, wins over USA, Canada and Argentina A to their credit

Honorable mention – Algeria. Have pretty much come from nowhere to reach the top division in African rugby.

Disappointment – Kenya, cannon-fodder for Canada, Germany & Hong Kong at the World Cup repechages, and losing at home to other 3rd tier teams they used to beat not so long ago.

Exciting Development of the Decade: MLR really taking off, expanding nicely, producing great play-offs and attracting lots of foreign talent

Honorable mention – GRR: Off the ground with its pilot series, promises to take pro rugby into new frontier

Disappointment – Super 18: A convoluted format with a couple of inept teams, ridiculous travel requirements for some and big thumbs down from the fans

Collective failure of the Six Nations

That’s true, I meant to say

Martin: Folau settlement like a Christmas present

That’s try, Gatesy. Last is he’s approached the Bulls in SA. Hopefully they’ll have enough spine to say no.

Martin: Folau settlement like a Christmas present

If the rumors are true about the big payout to Foolau, heads should roll at ARU. It’s not only a waste of money, it sends out completely the wrong message.

Martin: Folau settlement like a Christmas present

45,000 plus on hand to see Madagascar blitz Nigeria 63-3 in Antanarivo today. Yesterday Senegal hammered Mauritius by a similar score, 63-0 in Dakar. The crowd there looked like a few hundred.

Rugby Australia goes it alone

Andrew Mehrtens quoted in ESPN News this morning as saying Australia & NZ should break away from SA and Argentina and look to Asia. I agree, but don’t forget the Pacific Islands.

Rugby is facing a civil war unless Cameron Clyne goes now

Crusaders should be re-branded the Canterbury Rainbows. Uenuku, Maori God of Rainbows, was a Canterburian (true).

Izzy would love it 😂

The biggest talking point for each NZ Super Rugby franchise in 2020

Ivory Coast 60 Rwanda 3, Spain 29 Hong Kong 7, Germany 7 Holland 37, Swiss 20 Poles 23, Cyprus 18 Malta 16

How the Germans have fallen since beating Romania a couple of years back and making the World Cup qualifying repechages

Here’s a great idea: Let’s stop playing the All Blacks

Ghana 36 Botswana 25. Ivory Coast vs Rwana kicks off in an hour-and-a-half, live on Rugby Africa’s Facebook page.

In 7s, Afghanistan thrashed Taiwan this morning, 35-12 in the Asian Olympic qualifiers 😱

Here’s a great idea: Let’s stop playing the All Blacks

In saying that, the tests have become a bit excessive. Once a year ought to be enough. Twice max.

Here’s a great idea: Let’s stop playing the All Blacks

Aussies got strong by playing the ABs more regularly as flights became the popular mode of travel and live TV brought more revenue. They had a lean patch in the 60s and 70s, however. NZ dubbed them the Woeful Wallabies and considered axing them from the agenda. What happened? I don’t know. But barely a few years later the Wallabies were flogging the All Blacks in their own back yard. They remained on more or less equal footing through the 1980s, then the Wallabies won 2 World Cups in the 90s and KOed the All Blacks to reach the final again in 2003. Moral of the story, don’t avoid the All Blacks and things will right themselves sooner or later.

Here’s a great idea: Let’s stop playing the All Blacks

18th of July 2020 Georgia are off to South Africa to play a test.

That certainly is great news! Begs the question, of course, why South Africa don’t play regular tests with neighbors Namibia. They only beat them 57-3 at the World Cup. Not exactly a humiliation given they themselves once lost to New Zealand 57-0. In fact, make it an annual pre-season game and play it in Windhoek. Great way to blow out the cobwebs.

It also begs the question why France and England can’t get across to play a test in Tbilisi. They’d be sure to pack the stadium. Every tier 1 team should be ogliged to include at least one fixture against a tier 2 or 3 team on their annual schedules. For the meantime the gauntlet has been thrown down to NZ, Austrlia, England, France & co.

From what I can see this will be SA’s only test against a non-tier 1 side since the 2015 World Cup, apart from this year’s RWC & warm-up against Japan. Outside of this years RWC, NZ, Australia, England & France have only played three second tier teams each since the 2015 RWC, all involving Japan and the Pacific Islands. France, of course, lost to Fiji and drew with Japan; both games at home!

So this will be the first time one of the Big 5 plays a non-first tier team outside of Japan and the Islands in recent years. It’s a mammoth task for Georgia, travelling to SA to take on the recently crowned World Champions, but a great opportunity to test themselves against the best, which is the only way they’re going to improve.

A disturbance in the Force: China set to shake up world rugby

There’s never been a PI team in Super Rugby. There were individual island teams in the South Pacific Series and Super 10 competitions which were the precursors to Super Rugby. The only combined PI team to speak of played a few tests a few decades back and frankly didn’t prove any more successful than the individual islands would have been. So as a national team, the idea sucked. As a club or Super Rugby franchise, it could work but it’s a question of funding. Also, will Super Rugby want to expand again in the foreseeable future after its unsuccessful attempt at Super 18? I’m not sure it’s the answer. Far simpler to just open up the eligibility laws and let them play for existing Super Rugby teams while also remaining eligible for their home nations. This is how African football is prospering through its close allegiance with Europe.

When will Japan join the Rugby Championship?

FT – Brazil 22-47 Barbarians.

Tries:Daniel Lima, Luiz Vieira and Felipe Cunha
Conv: Reeves (2)
Pen: Reeves (1)

Tries: Havili (2), Cottrell (2), Ma’afu, Ezcurra e Vermaak
Convs: Havili (3), Iglesias (2) e Best (1)

Brasil: 15 Daniel Sancery, 14 Lorenzo Massari, 13 Felipe Sancery (c), 12 Moisés Duque, 11 Daniel “Maranhão” Lima, 10 Josh Reeves, 9 Lucas “Tanque” Duque, 8 André “Buda” Arruda, 7 Arthur Bergo, 6 Cléber “Gelado” Dias, 5 Luiz “Monstro” Vieira, 4 Matteo Dell’Acqua, 3 Joel Ramirez, 2 Wilton “Nelson” Rebolo, 1 Lucas Abud;

Suplentes: 16 Yan Rosetti, 17 Matheus “Blade” Rocha, 18 Leonel Moreno, 19 Gabriel Paganini, 20 Matheus Cláudio, 21 Devon Muller, 22 Felipe Cunha, 23 Lucas “Zé” Tranquez;

Barbarians: 15 David Havili (Nova Zelândia), 14 Bautista Ezcurra (Argentina), 13 Lukhanyo Am (África do Sul), 12 Billy Meakes (Austrália*), 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Santiago Iglesias (Argentina), 9 Jano Vermaak (África do Sul), 8 Josh Strauss (Escócia), 7 Pete Samu (Austrália), 6 Angus Cottrell (Austrália*), 5 Luke Jones (Austrália), 4 Tyler Ardron (c) (Canadá), 3 Hencus Van Wyk (África do Sul*), 2 Andrew Makalio (Nova Zelândia*), Campese Ma’afu (Fiji);

Suplentes: 16 Tendai Mtawarira (África do Sul), 17 Rory Best (Irlanda), 18 Wiehahn Herbst (África do Sul*), 19 Ben Landry (Estados Unidos), 20 Marco van Staden (África do Sul), 21 Joe Powell (Austrália), 22 Mathieu Bastareaud (França), 23 Dillyn Leyds (África do Sul);

A disturbance in the Force: China set to shake up world rugby

Apparently 10s is a thing in Hawaii. Samoa’s Eels defeated Wellington’s Petone in the final of an international tournament last weekend.

A disturbance in the Force: China set to shake up world rugby