It's that time of year again! The hemispheres are set to do battle in the annual North v South Derby at the Stade de Frigid on December 25.
It's that time of year again! The hemispheres are set to do battle in the annual North v South Derby at the Stade de Frigid.
It's the showdown the whole world has been waiting for: the best of the North versus the best of the South as the Northern Polar Bears and Southern Penguins renew their age-old rivalry in the traditional December 25 fixture.
As usual, the Bill Bew Sille trophy will be up for grabs with the southerners looking to continue their long domination of the inter-hemisphere spoils.
Whether the Bears will be able to work as a team this year remains to be seen as the saga surrounding the participation of their English players is still in doubt. Anglo-French complaints about locker allocations in the changing-room and the sharing of energy drinks led to the possibility of a breakaway team being formed until the French were lured back into the fold with promises of extra orange slices. And now the Welsh can't decide which side to take.
“We don't want to play anymore. You're all pooh-pooh faces. All this juice belongs to us. Only we can decide who gets any,” read a statement from the English representatives.
“We don't know what we want. But don't dare tell us what to do,” said the Welsh.
“We're better than all of you anyway. You need us more than we need you. But we want our juice,” replied the Irish.
“Please, please, please can we play too,” read a joint Italian and Scottish statement.
“On manje Ã quelle heure?” said the French.
If they ever make it onto the field, the Bears are under pressure to come up with a positive result considering their poor record against their rivals from way, way down under. The icy temperatures should favour the northerners' forwards-orientated approach but it seems nothing can stop the southsiders' backs once they start running.
Polar Bears coach Clause Santason insists that there is no bad blood between the teams but history has shown us that sparks are sure to fly.
“It's always an intense fixture. But with troublemakers like Bakkies Williams no longer part of the scene, I don't see why we can't all just get along,” Santason told the News from the Far Side in an exclusive interview.
Penguins coach Chris Masphather was less diplomatic, suggesting his side expected another convincing victory.
“Those northern fairies make me laugh,” he remarked.
“They think they can take us on up front. Well, we'll be dishing up fresh servings of whipped ass all day long.”
Team selection for the men in red continues to be an issue.
“We'll probably have to use some sort of quota system,” said Bears assistant coach Warren Gancaster.
“Whatever happens, the Irish are sure to complain.”
Penguins have also had their fair share of behind-the-scene upheavals with versatile, highly-talented but intellectually-challenged back Kurtley Connor recently axed from the squad for unprofessional behaviour.
Reports in the press claim that “Mr. Amigo” went on a 172-hour drinking binge, eating only fast food and hanging out in airports, trying to get on any flight that would take him before posting pictures of it all on social media network URAtwitter.
“All those things are forgivable,” said Penguins assistant coach Robbie Meyansen
“But we've had enough of those silly haircuts. How can he expect anyone to take him seriously?”
In team news, southern fans will be relieved to hear that superstar skipper Richie McBurger is back to captain the Penguins once again after an eventful year in and out of sabbaticals and hospitals.
The veteran flanker has been suffering from the left-intercostal-earlobe-defragmentation that has plagued his whole career but has been in good form of late so fans at the 40 000-seater igloo will be hoping for another master display of McBurger driving-through at the rucks.
Juan-Morne Hersteyndez has been ruled out with an overused groin while barnstorming front rower Bismoore du Struassis is fast approaching legendary hooker John Smealamu's record for Test caps.
For the northerners, Jonny Wilkexton, is once again suffering from an inflamed-incandescent-infected-ingrown toenail on his kicking foot but will start nevertheless. What a trooper.
Scarlet Tigers fly-half Rhys Floodland's inflamed cranium has now spread to his pocket and he could play his last game before shipping off to greener pastures.
Players to watch:
For the Northern Polar Bears: Born in Italy to a French father and a Welsh mother, Adam Mastrojonanni is considered the best tighhead the world as ever seen. As strong as three men, the RC Nolout prop is sure to make his presence felt at scrum time.
For the Southern Penquins: He pilfers, he plunders, he pillages, he preys, he plucks, he picks, he lifts, he loots, he liberates the ball from any bondage – if you don't hold onto it, he'll steal it. Look out for Kierane Vermeulead
Prediction: It's a tough one to call, but considering the past results, the Penguins must start as favourites…but anything is possible. You can be sure of one thing: After the game the 'refreshments' will flow thick and fast. The Hemispheres to draw 25-all and everyone to have a merry Christmas, a cracking New Year, be friends and live happily ever after!
North Pole: 15 Brice Dalfpenny, 14 Tommy Cuthbowe, 13 Brian O'Davies, 12 Weslie Roberana, 11 George Nedard, 10 Jonny Wilkexton, 9 Morgan Pharrips, 8 Louis Peaslip, 7 Chris O'Robrien, 6 Thierry Lydiatoir, 5 Richie Glawes, 4 Paul O'PapÃ©nell, 3 Adam Mastrojonanni, 2 Rory Hibaldini, 1 Alex Healisiero.
Replacemenst: 16 Dylan Szarzeartly, 17 Thomasko Domipola, 18 Dan Cenkins, 19 Geoff-Alun Jonebury, 20 Toby Gorgodaletau, 21 Danny Curray, 22 Rhys Floodland, 23 James Huilagi
South Pole: 15 Isreal Faggau, 14 Ben l'Amarouxsino, 13 Conrad Engelbosch, 12 Je'an Nolliers, 11 Julyan Habavea, 10 Dan Cambie, 9 Will du Preenia, 8 Kierane Vermeulead, 7 Richie McBurger, 6 William Malberssam, 5 Sam van der Whorlock, 4 Brodicio Etzebecete, 3 Juannie du Figalessis, Bismoore du Struassis, 1 Sony 'Monster' Woodualolowarira.
Replacemenst: 16 Chiliaia Faingepelle, 17 Benn Crocketson, 18 Choelie Faumhuizen, 19 Ben Louwen, 20 Juan Michael Fernandez Hoobber, 21 Aruan Sminaar, 22 Filipe Coopepomi, 23 Christijan Lealiifontein,
Date: Tuesday, December 25
Venue: Stade de Frigid
Kick-off: High Noon
Weather: minus 24Â°C, snow, and a fresh north-wester 135 km/h
Referee: Lawrence Lawrence
Touch judges: Mark Lawrence, Bryce Lawrence
Television match official: Jean-Pierre Lawrence III
Assessor: His Royal Highness The Scarlet Badger