23 May, 12:21
The Irish Rugby Supporters Club is delighted to announce that tickets for the GUINNESS Series 2013 will go on sale on ticketmaster.ie at 10am on Thursday, May 30.
PLAYERS ASSOCIATION ROLE FOR MATFIELD: Victor Matfield, who is absent from the Springboks tour squad in order to rest up for next year's World Cup, has been elected as President of the South African Rugby Players Association (SARPA).
The 6ft 7in Bulls lock officially took office at the Annual General Meeting of the association held in Cape Town on Thursday. Eddie Andrews was elected as Vice-President and Hennie le Roux was elected as Chairman.
Two-thirds of South Africa's front row for tomorrow's clash with Ireland - loosehead Lawrence Sephaka and hooker John Smit - have been elected to serve as members of the SARPA Executive Committee (EXCO).
IRELAND'S 16TH MAN: Ireland won't only have BOD on their side tomorrow evening, God may well be togging out for Eddie O'Sullivan's men.
Winger Andrew Trimble is well aware that his devout Christianity is far from the stereotype that rugby players have. The Ulster flyer shuns his iPod for his bible pre-match, but how does he cope with all that physical combat in the white heat of an international?
"Obviously it's hard to fulfil Christian ideals on a rugby pitch," said the 22-year-old. "There's gamesmanship and at times you can lose your rag. You play as competitively as you can but it's difficult. I'm human and I'm going to let God down occasionally but he's just waiting there to say it's alright and put his arm around me."
In 'Trimby' we trust.
TRY-TIME FOR IRISH IN BERMUDA: Two Irish players got on the scoresheet as the Classic Lions won through to the World Rugby Classic final on Thursday.
Mark Blair, the former Ulster and Ireland 'A' back row, and ex-Ulster, Ireland and Lions winger Tyrone Howe bagged a try apiece in the Lions' comprehensive 36-5 semi-final win over the Classic All Blacks.
The semi-final was played in chilly and rainy conditions at Bermuda's National Sports Centre.
Former New Zealand Maori centre Brad Heppi (2), Scottish winger Tarquil Matheson and Yorkshire-born flanker John Dudley also touched down for the Lions. In tomorrow's final they will take on Australia, who edged out the Classic Springboks, the defending champions, 12-7 in the other semi-final.
SAY WHAT?: "I'm into desserts at the moment so I think pannacotta is my favourite to make and eat. Or bread and butter pudding. I like anything sweet. I drink maple syrup - from a cup. Honest! I think my teeth are going to fall out but I can eat anything and not put on weight. I'd have an eating competition tomorrow if you want."
- Ireland flanker Neil Best on his habits in the kitchen
"In a schools cricket match, I got hit on the head. It wasn't very nice and I was ill for about three days. Afterwards, I thought to myself: 'I don't want to play cricket any longer. I'm going with rugby.' And that's what I did."
- New South African cap Bevin Fortuin on how the bounce of a cricket ball helped him choose rugby for a career
"I've played with and against Neil (Best), and what you see is what you get. He puts his body on the line - it's horrific sometimes. He puts in big hits and brings people into the game. He's a player you have to admire, and I'm looking forward to playing alongside him again.
"Possibly my aggression used to boil over a bit - that's been well documented. When we started we were both inexperienced, and little things upset us.
"It hasn't been a problem for me for a year or two now. I try to channel it in the right direction - but you can't afford to lose that edge."
- Ireland number 8 Denis Leamy on how he and Neil Best keep a lid on their aggression on the field
NUMBERS GAME: 10 - The number of first choice players that South Africa are missing on their tour of Ireland and the UK - Os du Randt, Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield, Schalk Burger, Joe van Niekerk, AJ Venter, Fourie du Preez, Jaque Fourie, Breyton Paulse and Percy Montgomery.
5 - The number of players in the Ireland starting XV for tomorrow that have played 50 Test matches or more - Girvan Dempsey (66), Brian O'Driscoll (67), Ronan O'Gara (63), Peter Stringer (69) and John Hayes (65). The Springboks line-up includes just one - captain John Smit (60).
170,000 - The amount of ticket sales recorded in an eight hour period on Thursday when the individual match tickets for the 2007 Rugby World Cup were put on sale. 54,000 were sold to people from Ireland and the UK. The available allocation for the France v Ireland pool match has been sold out.