Planet Rugby

Far Side Preview: North v South

Far side christmas preview 2011

Past Polar legends: Donncha O'Chabalahan, Richie McBurger, Mikiel Rougindall and Ma'an Nilliers

23rd December 2012 22:50

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Dan Cambie Far Side

At 10 for the South this year: Pat Cambie

It's that time of year again! Get set for the annual North v South Derby at the Stade de Frigid on December 25.

It's the match the whole planet has been waiting for: the best of the North versus the best of the South with the winners set to take home the Bill Bew Sille trophy.

The Northern Polar Bears and Southern Penguins renew their age-old rivalry with the northerners looking to end their long losing streak.

The Penguins arrive with a much-changed side though as injuries have ruled out their entire back-row. Regular skipper and the best openside the world has ever seen, Richie McBurger, has been ruled out with an overused groin while David Possouw's left-intercostal-earlobe-defragmentation has flared up again.

There have also been waves behind the scenes with Filipe Cooperpomi first announcing that he was not available for the Polar Championship because he preferred to play for his club and then telling the media that the 'toxic environment' in the camp was killing his mojo.

It seems he has kissed and made up with coach Chris Masphather because he features on the bench.

Despite the troubles in the opposition camp, the Bears will be the ones under pressure to come up with a result considering their poor record against their rivals from way, way down under. The colder-than-usual temperatures should favour the northerners but will it be enough to stifle the free-running side from the South?

For the first time the game will be played on an artificial surface, meaning the Bears will rely even more heavily of their spoiling tactics at the breakdown to keep the skillful Penguins backs out of the game.

Polar Bears coach Clause Santason returns to the helm having missed the mid-year Tests due to an horrific DIY accident which left him with two shattered kneecaps and without fingers after he fell off a ladder and into the path of a speeding lawnmower.

"It all starts up front," Santason told News From the Far Side.

"We've got some good props, like Adam Mastrogiovanni, but it's their backs I fear. Julyan Habavea is a try machine. Kurtley Bagg is a counter-attacking master. He's faster than a kangaroo on amphetamines."

Scarlet Tigers fly-half Rhys Floodland has been preferred for his running game over Jonny Wilkexton's boot. Floodland is suffering from an inflamed-incandescent-infected-ingrown toenail on his kicking foot so debutant centre Owen Fofanell will take over the kicking duties. But can the youngster handle the pressure of the big occasion or will he leave his lunch on the halfway line?

Mick Gorgodeaster is back from a storming performance last year but he starts on the flank, not his regular position of number eight, which is held by stalwart Jamie Harinordislip.

There is no place for veteran Brannick O'Driszion, whose record of 407 caps is under threat from long serving lock Paul O'Papénell.

Players to watch:

For the Northern Polar Bears: 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, Thierry Lydiatoir is a master on the deck.

For the Southern Penquins: Probably the best 10 in the business, Dan Cambie starts for the Penguins. Born in Durban but raised in Canterbury, he hits more targets than a B52.

Prediction: It's a tough one to call, but considering the past results, the Penguins must start as favourites although with heavy snow forecast, which will favour the Bears, 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 cracking New Year, be friends and live happily ever after!

North Pole: 15 Ben Fodrenaud, 14 Vincent Clashton, 13 Owen Fafanell, 12 Jamie Barritson, 11 George Nalzieu, 10 Rhys Floodland, 9 Morgan Pharrips, 8 Jamie Harinordislip, 7 Thierry Lydiatoir, 6 Mick Gorgodeaster, 5 Richie Grawes, 4 Paul O'Papénell, 3 Adam Mastrogiovanni, 2 Rory Beraldini, 1 Alex Healisiero.
Replacements:16 Dylan Szarzeartly,17 Andrea Sheragini,18 Genith Joles,19 Louis Haskemoles, 20 Benni Younvili, 21 Jonny Wilkexton, 22 James Huilagi, 23 Maxy Bowdard

South Pole: 15 Kurtley Bagg, 14 JPC Janietersen, 13 Conrad Ashley-Bosch, 12 Ma'an Nilliers, 11 Julyan Habavea, 10 Dan Cambie, 9 Aruan Geniaar, 8 Kierlim Realberts, 7 Marcel Higgimessam, 6 Jerome Martin Fernandez Laino, 5 Patries Bekkacete, 4 Eden Sharplock, 3 Rodrigo Franksero, 2 Kevafu Molota-Naulamu, 1 Tony 'Monster' Woodualolowarira
Replacements:16 Andrew Huplessis, 17 Jannie Drockett, 18 Census van der Alexander,19 Ali Horliams, 20 Victor Vitmeulen, 21 Filipe Cooperpomi, 22 Hoseaw Gitchell 23 Berrick Bougaard

Date: Tuesday, December 25
Venue: Stade de Frigid
Kick-off: High Noon
Weather: minus 24°C, snow, and a fresh north-wester 35 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

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