PLAYERS ASSOCIATION ROLE FOR MATFIELD: Victor Matfield, who is absentfrom the Springboks tour squad in order to rest up for next year'sWorld Cup, has been elected as President of the South African RugbyPlayers 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 withIreland - loosehead Lawrence Sephaka and hooker John Smit - have beenelected to serve as members of the SARPA Executive Committee (EXCO).
IRELAND'S 16TH MAN: Ireland won't only have BOD on their side tomorrowevening, God may well be togging out for Eddie O'Sullivan's men.
Winger Andrew Trimble is well aware that his devout Christianity is farfrom the stereotype that rugby players have. The Ulster flyer shuns hisiPod for his bible pre-match, but how does he cope with all thatphysical combat in the white heat of an international?
"Obviously it's hard to fulfil Christian ideals on a rugby pitch," saidthe 22-year-old. "There's gamesmanship and at times you can lose yourrag. You play as competitively as you can but it's difficult. I'm humanand I'm going to let God down occasionally but he's just waiting thereto 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 scoresheetas the Classic Lions won through to the World Rugby Classic final onThursday.
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 TarquilMatheson and Yorkshire-born flanker John Dudley also touched down forthe Lions. In tomorrow's final they will take on Australia, who edgedout the Classic Springboks, the defending champions, 12-7 in the othersemi-final.
SAY WHAT?: "I'm into desserts at the moment so I think pannacotta is my
- 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 niceand I was ill for about three days. Afterwards, I thought to myself: 'Idon't want to play cricket any longer. I'm going with rugby.' Andthat'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 youget. He puts his body on the line - it's horrific sometimes. He puts inbig hits and brings people into the game. He's a player you have toadmire, and I'm looking forward to playing alongside him again.
"Possibly my aggression used to boil over a bit - that's been welldocumented. When we started we were both inexperienced, and littlethings upset us.
"It hasn't been a problem for me for a year or two now. I try tochannel it in the right direction - but you can't afford to lose thatedge."
- 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 Africaare missing on their tour of Ireland and the UK - Os du Randt, BakkiesBotha, 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 thathave played 50 Test matches or more - Girvan Dempsey (66), BrianO'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 periodon Thursday when the individual match tickets for the 2007 Rugby WorldCup were put on sale. 54,000 were sold to people from Ireland and theUK. The available allocation for the France v Ireland pool match hasbeen sold out.