Mike Averis

Butch leads SA’s exodus north

The World Cup last week then the EDF Energy Cup this? Not quite, but Butch James will barely have time for the Springboks' victory tour of South Africa before he is back on a plane heading for Europe. After signing a two-year contract with Bath this summer, the flyhalf is expected to be in the squad when the Heineken and European Challenge cups start on November 9.

Tonga step up

Even among the big men of Tongan rugby, Finau Maka stands out. It's not just that he's 1,9m tall or weighs in at a touch less than 114kg -- there are bigger men in the breakfast room at the team's hotel just outside Montpellier. Perhaps it's the elaborate coiffure; that lollipop of hair that marks him out in the mayhem of a rugby field. More likely it's the laugh.

Northern lights seem rather dim

A week into the Rugby World Cup and, if you believe the headlines in New Zealand and South Africa, the Webb Ellis Trophy is already heading back to the southern hemisphere. After defeat for France in Paris on the opening day and less than impressive wins against the minnows for England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, the northern hemisphere is merely making up the numbers.

Why England don’t cut it in one-day cricket

England's one-day cricketers have taken all sorts of abuse while wending their losing way around the world. The coach has been told to go and the players questioned about their desire, but no one has considered the ''socio-economic'' roots of their game -- until now.

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