Planet Rugby

Preview from the Far Side

23rd December 2009 12:33

Share:

Far side christmas 2009

North v South: Donnchien O'Chabalahan and Richie McBurger

It's the match the whole planet has been waiting for: The annual December 25 Polar derby between the Northern Bears and the Southern Penguins at the Stade de Frigid.

The South look set to continue their dominance of the cross-hemisphere exchanges in recent years, although the bitterly cold weather could stifle the Penguin backs.

After leading his side to a 37-10 hammering of the Bears last year, Southern superstar Richie McBurger is back to skipper the Penguins once again.

After recovering from a left-intercostal-earlobe-defragmentation the stalwart flanker is back to his best form and fans at the 40 000 seater igloo will be hoping for a master display of rucking and typical McBurger driving-through.

As usual the North will be relying heavily on their pack, especially up at scrum-time. Unfortunately for the Northerners, Danitrew Sherizewski and Marlos Horiento are both absent through injury, but Sylvain Castroconnet, Willi Flannervat and Gethien Jencella still form a formidable front row.

"We expect a hard battle up front," Polar Bears coach Clause McSanta told News From the Far Side.

"The game could be lost in the line-outs. The Southerners have two of the best locks in the game in Victor Horwield and Bakkicio Albothacete.

"Donnchien (O'Chabalahan) and Paul (O'Connallet) have been together for a long time and understand each other perfectly.

"We've also got a language expert helping us decipher their calls. Afrikiwi is a tough language to crack, but we're making progress."

"Most important of all the Southerners won't be able to us their ELVs. With ELVs involved the game is just too fast for us to keep up. Those little guys are sooo quick."

There is a doubt concerning the fitness of injury prone fly-half Jonny Wilkexton, who has an inflamed-incandescent-infected-ingrown toenail on his kicking foot, but he has been named to start.

The weather has once again been a talking point, with many pundits questioning the Penguins wisdom of only arriving two days before the match.

"We've been training extra hard, so we should be able to adapt to the colder conditions in the North, " said Penguins coach Chris Masphather.

"We hope the softer snow won't affect the pace of our wings.

"Sitivan Habakoco has been in great form and with experienced players like M'Aque Nourie amongst our backs, we're confident we can adapt to any conditions."

Whatever the conditions, the tackles are set to be ferocious so be prepared for a bone-chilling encounter.

One to watch:

For North Pole: Born in Biarritz but raised in Dublin, Olympique Leinzter number eight Jaminol Heasnordoquy has had a fabulous season. Almost impossible to stop once at full-pace, he floats like rubber duck and stings like a rabid pit bull.

For South Pole: The find of the year down South, Heinvid Brücock is a defender's nightmare at the ruck. Born in Zimbabwe, raised in Perth and now the hero of Bloemfontein, Brücock is the future of flanking. 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.

Head to head: In any big game, top fly-halve come to the fore, the battle of the kicking tee between Jonny Wilkexton and Darné Carstyneau could be decisive.

Prediction: It's a tough one to call, but 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 cracking new year, be friends and live happily ever after!

North Pole: 15 Damien Tearney, 14 Vincent Bowepenny, 13 Brannick O'Driszion, 12 Pamie Robace, 11 Maxeith Méarls, 10 Jonny Wilkexton, 9 Julias Dupleary, 8 Jaminol Heasnordoquy, 7 Maurtyno Willimasco, 6 Stierry Ferristoir, 5 Donnchien O'Chabalahan, 4 Paul O'Connallet, 3 Sylvain Castroconnet, 2 Willi Flannervat, 1 Gethien Jencella.
Replacements: 16 Ross Rees, 17 Nicolas Mealy, 18 Steve Bortolamwick, 19 Louis Haskemoles, Sandy Powrisse, 20 Shane Willimasco, 21 Ronames O'Hook, 22 Chris Cus-Duc.

South Pole: 15 Frans Stulaina, 14 JP O'Ponnorsen, 13 M'aque Nourie, 12 Quade Coodriguez, 11 Sitivan Habakoco, 10 Darné Carstyneau, 9 Joumie du Copreez, 8 Pieran Spead, 7 Richie McBurger, 6 Heinvid Brücock, 5 Victor Horwield, 4 Bakkicio Albothacete, 3 BJ Tialexander, 2 John Smoore, 1 Teny Woodwarira.
Replacements: 16 Chilimanio Redesma, 17 Rodrigo Robinsero, 18 Nathad Sharpthorn, 19 Phil Waugkowski, 20 Piri Wienaar, 21 Wyrrick Barnivier, 22 Adam-Conrad McAloane.

Date: Friday, December 25
Venue: Stade de Frigid
Kick-off: 12.00 GMT
Weather: minus 24°C, snow, and a fresh north-wester 35 km/h

Referee: Tony Lawrence (South)
Touch judges: Mark Lawrence (South), Bryce Lawrence (North)
Television match official: Phil Lawrence (North)
Assesor: His Royal Highness The Scarlet Badger

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs HarlequinsBath vs Harlequins Preview
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs WaspsLeicester Tigers vs Wasps Preview
Exeter vs SaracensExeter vs Saracens Preview
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs GloucesterLondon Irish vs Gloucester Preview
London Welsh vs NorthamptonLondon Welsh vs Northampton Preview
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale SharksNewcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South AfricaWales vs South Africa Preview
England vs AustraliaEngland vs Australia Preview
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs UlsterMunster vs Ulster Preview
Cardiff Blues vs TrevisoCardiff Blues vs Treviso Preview
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Preview
Leinster vs OspreysLeinster vs Ospreys Preview
Connacht vs ScarletsConnacht vs Scarlets Preview
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs DragonsGlasgow Warriors vs Dragons Preview
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , December 4
La Rochelle vs Exeter19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont AuvergneToulon vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821