MISSING PERSONS PLEA
I start today’s blog with a missing persons plea.
Stade Francais are desperately seeking the safe return of their South African born fly half Morne Steyn.
His disappearance has baffled the authorities, and there is genuine concern for his welfare
Mr Steyn is 31 years of age, Caucasian, is 6ft in height, and weighs 14st 5lbs.
When asked if Mr Steyn had any enemies, we were referred to the 2nd test in 2009, between the British and Irish Lions and South Africa, where the aforementioned came off the bench, to successfully kick a 53 metre penalty, that won the match, and the series for the Springboks.
To complicate matters an unconfirmed sighting of Morne Steyn was made in Leicester, on the afternoon of Sunday 10 April, at Welford Road.
The authorities have dismissed this sighting as a hoax , as although the physical similarities between the two were striking, the individual seen in Leicester did not posses any basic rugby skills, and looked totally unfamiliar with the game in general.
BOKS BARBEQUES AND BORDEAUX
The balance of trade in France is at its most unbalanced for some time, as imports have dramatically outstripped the export market.
This has been mainly due to the CITES regulation relaxation on the sale and transportation of Springboks.
Whilst the four legged versions have strict controls to preserve their existence, the larger two legged versions are not subject to any such restrictions, and have been imported into France at an alarming rate.
Their is an upside to this tale however as the sale of charcoal and state of the art barbecues has increased tenfold , over the last few years, improving the profit margins of many of the large supermarche chains.
The traveling Boks have swapped the vineyards of Stellenbosch for Sancerre, the Cape for Chablis, and there are now more Du Plessis’s in Montpellier than there are Du Ponts.
There are far too many roaming the Gallic fields to list them in their entirety, but here are few:
Bryan Habana, Juan Smith, Duane Vermulen (Toulon)
Morne Steyn, Meyer Bosman, Willem Alberts (Stade Francais)
Janie Du Plessis, Bismark Du Plessis (Montpellier)
Juandre Kruger, Johannes Goosen (Racing 92)
And there are many others, including Pedrie Wannenburg at Oyonnax, Gurthro Steenkamp at Toulouse and Heini Adams at Bordeaux.
BEACOUP DE EUROS
Whilst on the subject of the Top 14 and its bulging wallet, I have accessed rugby’s equivalent of the “Panama Papers” and can reveal the incredible amounts that have been paid to the top players in recent years.
In 2014 Johnny Wilkinson was paid £56,000 a month at Toulon, whilst Jamie Roberts during his stint at Racing 92 received £380,000 per annum.
Johnny Sexton was paid £500,000 pa during his somewhat unhappy stint in Paris.
It is no secret that Dan Carter is getting £1.4 million a year at Racing, but next in line in the chain of big money earners are Toulon’s Matt Gitau (£900,000 pa) and Leigh Halfpenny (£600,000 pa).
Big money Toulon also paid Bryan Habana (£474,600 pa)
The top French national money earners appear to be Morgan Parra at Clermont (£436,000 pa) and Thierry Dusutoir at Toulouse (£408,120 pa).
Finally with the European Champions and Challenge cup semi finals coming up this weekend, it seems very strange to note that there is no Irish representation in either competition.
The strength of the Aviva Premiership and France’s Top 14 appears to be reaping rewards and unless the Celtic nations can provide a domestic competition with greater intensity then I fear this could be the shape of things to come.
With no Irish or Scottish representation and Newport Gwent Dragons flying the solitary flag for Wales for the second successive year, it paints the Pro 12 as very much the poor relation of domestic European rugby tournaments.
Enjoy next weekend I will be on duty at Harlequins v Grenoble on Friday night , but sadly so will Irish referee John Lacey.
See you next Monday for another Roar !
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