Jackson says Pippen is a possibility

first_img“He kind of talked about the parameters of what he can do and what he thinks he can do to help,” Jackson said. “I wanted to know his conditioning.” Jackson said the Lakers would wait to see what comes out of Odom’s and Luke Walton’s visits to the doctor today before determining whether to pursue Pippen. The Lakers would have to release a player to add Pippen to the roster. Brown back in fold Not even 2 1/2 minutes into the third quarter of Sunday’s game, Jackson had seen enough to make a switch. He brought Kwame Brown in for Andrew Bynum, then went on to play Brown the bulk of the second half. PHOENIX – The prospect of a season-ending injury to Lamar Odom seemingly would increase the Lakers’ interest in signing Scottie Pippen, who wants to make a comeback at age 41. And Lakers coach Phil Jackson said he talked last week to Pippen about his plans. “I did get in touch with Scottie,” Jackson said, “but it was just kind of preliminary talk about how he’s doing, where he’s at and how he feels.” Pippen, who last played for Chicago in the 2003-04 season, has said he would like to play for a championship contender. The Lakers, sixth in the Western Conference standings and facing an uncertain future without Odom, might not fit the bill. center_img Brown finished with six points and eight rebounds in 28 minutes in his second game back from an ankle injury. He played nearly 19 minutes in the second half, with Jackson saying afterward that Brown “looks like he’s getting back and ready.” Brown reprised his role from last season’s playoffs, when he was the “Inside Man” in the Lakers’ game plan against the Suns. Yet Jackson wasn’t ready to commit to making the anticipated change of starting Brown and bringing Bynum off the bench. “He looked all right to me,” Jackson said of Brown. “That’s the best front against a guy like (Amare) Stoudemire with his quickness and his power. It’s just going to depend on the opponents and what type of game we’re going to have.” Bynum made all three shots he took but threw away two passes in the post and was called for traveling. Jackson removed Bynum after watching as the 19-year-old gave Steve Nash room to shoot coming off a pick-and-roll. “He’s going to contribute,” Jackson added of Bynum. “He’s still going to play half the game or so for us.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Senior center executive a beacon for change

first_imgMONTEREY PARK – Doctors recently told 83-year- old Beth Ryan that it looks like she could live to be 100. And if it is up to the Monterey Park resident, she’ll continue to spend that time as director at the Langley Senior Center. Ryan started working at the center in 1967 in the parks and recreation division, but eventually switched her interests to senior citizens. Forty years later, Ryan is the leading lady at the senior center, which now sees nearly 1,000 people per day. But now Ryan is set to retire – though she hasn’t decided on a date. Her house is on the market, and she has plans to move to Palos Verdes, where her daughter lives. Ryan said she will have a hard time letting go of a place that she calls home. “This is my family here,” she said as her dog, Princess Elizabeth, laid by her side at her office. “I don’t feel like retiring.” To many, Ryan is the face of the successful center. “This is the best senior center in the San Gabriel Valley,” said Maureen Wong, a volunteer. “This is Beth’s place.” Through the years, Ryan has seen the center change. She raised more than $500,000 for five expansions, increasing the former 12,000-square-foot facility to 17,500 square feet. But the biggest shift came when the demographics changed in Monterey Park in the 1980s from mostly white to Asian. The center now has a Japanese garden, offers an American and a Chinese lunch, and began teaching English classes. Ryan also introduced things needed for all seniors, such as a computer lab, barber shop, nail salon and a fitness room. “Whatever helps keep people off the street,” she joked. In 1984, she got a Private Sector Initiative Commendation from President Ronald Reagan, and in 2005, she received President George Bush’s Call to Service Award. “She’s fabulous. She put her soul in here,” said Iris LaBeach, who has volunteered at the center for 15 years. “She talks about retiring,” Wong said, “but I don’t think she could pull herself away.” jennifer.mclain@sgvn.com (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2477160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

WOMEN SUE DONEGAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICE FOR NON-PAYMENT OF WAGES

first_imgFive women have taken a legal action against the Donegal Women’s Domestic Violence Service for non-payment of wages.Letterkenny Court.The case surrounds the non-payment of increments to the women stretching back over the past five years.The case was mentioned at the latest sitting of Letterkenny Circuit Court.The women, who include Catherine Patton, Margaret Bonner, Kathleen Sheridan, Ann McGettigan and Mary O’Donnell, still work at the Letterkenny-based centre.Representing the women, barrister Charlotte Simpson said the women’s claims was less than €13,000 in total and referred to the heavy legal costs which the DWDVS had paid in defending the action.Barrister for the DWDVS said there was a danger that the service could go into liquidation as a result of the action.However, this was dismissed as “scare-mongering” by barrister for the women Ms Simpson.The DWDVS receives its funding from TUSLA – the Child and Family Agency.Having heard submissions on the case, Judge Francis Comerford adjourned matters to clarify exactly how much in increments the women are owed. WOMEN SUE DONEGAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICE FOR NON-PAYMENT OF WAGES was last modified: July 16th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:courtdonegalDonegal Women’s Domestic Violence Serviceincrementsletterkennylast_img read more

GLENSWILLY FAN BANNED FOR A YEAR FOR ATTACK ON ST EUNAN’S MANAGER

first_imgMaxi Curran: Was grabbed by fanA GLENSWILLY fan who went onto the pitch during a home match to grab the manager of the St Eunan’s team has been banned from GAA games for 48 weeks.The incident is one of a number still being investigated by Gardaí following the Division One league clash between the clubs in April.During one of the incidents in Glenswilly the fan went onto the pitch and grabbed St Eunan’s manager Maxi Curran. The fan can appeal the decision.Glenswilly has been fined €500 with an additional €500 fine if there is another breach of GAA rules. The club meets next week to see how it will react to the disciplinarySt Eunan’s went on to win the game 3-13 to 1-07 despite having two players sent off. GLENSWILLY FAN BANNED FOR A YEAR FOR ATTACK ON ST EUNAN’S MANAGER was last modified: May 22nd, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:fanGAAglenswillySt Eunanslast_img read more

Women’s Basketball Hosts Illinois State Sunday Night

first_imgDES MOINES, Iowa – The Drake University women’s basketball team is set to host Illinois State in a Sunday night contest at the Knapp Center starting at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast on The Valley On ESPN3. The matchup with the Redbirds follows a Drake men’s home game vs SIU at 3 p.m. The Drake (11-5, 4-1 MVC) women are coming off an 80-55 win Friday night over Indiana State. The Bulldogs rebounded from poor shooting (34.4 percent) in the first two quarters against the Sycamores to shoot 54.8 percent in the final two while making six three-pointers and a perfect 11-of-11 free throws. For the game, the Bulldogs totaled a 44.4 (28-of-63) percent shooting mark from the field, 36.4 (8-of-22) percent from 3-point range and a stellar 88.9 (16-of-18) percent total from the free throw line. After scoring just 29 points in the first two quarters and leading by just two points at the break, Drake opened the third quarter on a 14-0 run en route to a 33-point performance in the period as it cruised to its fourth consecutive victory. The Bulldogs scored 80 or more points for the ninth time this season, improving to 8-1 in those games. Drake ramped up its defensive pressure on Indiana State, who made 42.3 percent of its shots in the first two quarters but ended the night at just 32.8 percent from the floor. Drake was led in scoring by junior Lizzy Wendell (Blue Springs, Mo) who tallied a game-high 20 points along with pulling down 10 rebounds to record her fourth career double-double. She also handed out six assists and nabbed two steals. Sophomore Maddy Dean (Jordan, Minn.) added 14 points and was followed by freshman Nicole Miller (Walker, Iowa) and junior Cortni Rush (Mason City, Iowa) with 11 points each. Rush’s point total is a season-high, which included shooting 3-of-5 from three-point range and hitting 4-of-6 field goals. Illinois State (3-12, 1-3 MVC) lost at UNI, 65-51, on Friday evening. Octavia Crump is averaging a team-leading 13.3 points per game while snagging 5.1 rebounds per game. Drake has won the previous three games in series and holds a slim edge, 36-35, in the all-time series that started in 1981. Drake has a week before its next game when it welcomes travel partner UNI on Sunday, Jan. 24 for a 2 p.m. matinee at the Knapp Center.Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more

KEATING GETS HARPS BACK ON TRACK WITH LATE, LATE GOAL

first_imgPerhaps Finn Harps should name a seat after Ruairi Keating.Tagbo on the ball for Harps.He may not be the local legend that Brendan Bradley or Kevin mcHugh is just yet.But the on-loan Sligo Rovers lad is proving his worth yet again this season. Just when it looked like Harps had blown a two goal lead against bottom-of-the table Waterford, upped popped Keating with three minutes to go to seal a 3-2 victory and there vital points.This was a game which Finn Harps should have finished off at half-time.Leading by two goals after just six minutes thanks to a first minute effort from Mickey Funston and another from Wilfred Tagbo, Harps had numerous chances to put the game beyond bottom-of-the-table Waterford.But the wide of a goalpost and some side-netting prevented Funston again and Raymond Foy from doing just that. Josh Mailey battle win possession. Pic by Northwest Newspix.When Corcoran pulled on back for Waterford in the 28th minute, it was always going to b a tight second half.And that uncertainty turned to her frustration when Ross Fitzpatrick popped up in the 73rd minute to level the game.But urged on by the home crowd, Harps continued to press.Keating continued to probe the openings as he has done all season and sent th crowd into raptures when h slotted home in the 87th minute.Ollie Horgan’s side dug deep and deserve credit for not giving up. But, hell, they don’t make it easy on the nerves.KEATING GETS HARPS BACK ON TRACK WITH LATE, LATE GOAL was last modified: May 8th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Twin Towns traffic light fault causes major delays

first_imgTechnical difficulties were affecting a set of traffic lights in the Twin Towns this morning (Thurs) – causing long delays.It was reported that the traffic lights on the Main Street in the Twin Towns changing to red ‘every minute or so’, causing huge queues.It is understood that a bin bag has now been placed over the traffic lights. Traffic is moving slowly in the area and motorist have been advised to drive with caution.Local County Councillor, Gary Doherty said: “There’s a fault with the traffic lights in front of McElhinney’s at the moment.“The lights are going red automatically every minute or so which is causing traffic delays.“I have contacted the Council and it will be fixed as soon as possible.” Donegal County Council has been contacted for comment.Twin Towns traffic light fault causes major delays was last modified: November 14th, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Video: Muay Thai Fight Night, Cape Town

first_imgMartial arts fans gathered at Cape town’s Grand West Casino recently for the African Muay Thai Qualifier and Mixed Martial Arts Fight Night, where two African champions were selected to represent the continent at the first SportAccord Combat Games in Beijing, China in August-September 2010.Click arrow to play video.Published on SouthAfrica.info on 1 April 2010.last_img

Launch of the 20 Year Review: the full text

first_imgSouth Africans queue to pay their respects to Nelson Mandela as his remains lie in state at the Union Buildings in December 2013. Jacob Zuma dedicated the Twenty Year Review document to Madiba, South Africa’s first democratically elected president. (Image: GCIS)Staff writerAt the launch of South Africa’s Twenty Year Review in Pretoria on Tuesday 11 March, President Jacob Zuma dedicated the document to Nelson Mandela, who died in December. The review reflects on the successes made in the country over the two decades since the end of apartheid, and the work still to be done.Mandela’s administration as first democratic president of South Africa, Zuma said, “laid the foundation for the transformation of our country from being the skunk of the world to a non-racial, non-sexist, thriving and vibrant constitutional democracy”.The review document, prepared by the Presidency, “is our contribution to the celebration and discussions about the progress made, and work that still needs to be done to move South Africa forward,” Zuma said.“The Twenty Year Review is packed with facts and figures to support its analysis and it is honest and frank in its approach.“Where the facts indicate that we have made progress, we say so, and where the facts indicate that we have challenges and have made mistakes, we also say so.”Watch the launch of the Twenty Year Review in Pretoria on Tuesday 11 March:The full speechThe year 2014 represents a historic milestone of 20 years of freedom and democracy in our country.It is an occasion to reflect on what has been achieved in our country over the past 20 years, by South Africans working together.We have the honour today to release the Presidency’s 20 Year Review, which is our contribution to the celebration and discussions about the progress made, and work that still needs to be done to move South Africa forward.We have had 10-year and 15-year reviews before, which cumulatively contributed to the review document we are launching today.The Twenty Year Review is packed with facts and figures to support its analysis and it is honest and frank in its approach.Where the facts indicate that we have made progress, we say so, and where the facts indicate that we have challenges and have made mistakes, we also say so.We are releasing the Review just two months after the passing of the first President of a democratic South Africa, His Excellency Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.His administration laid the foundation for the transformation of our country from being the skunk of the world to a non-racial, non-sexist, thriving and vibrant constitutional democracy.You will note that the sky on the cover picture of the Review document displays a beautiful rainbow. The picture was taken at the Union Buildings on the second day of Tata Madiba’s lying in state at the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre.We experienced a brisk storm that afternoon, followed quickly by that rainbow which brightened the sky, as if to remind us of the united rainbow nation that Madiba wanted us to be, always.We humbly dedicate this Review to Madiba.‘An inspiration to the people of the world’Given the manner in which we were able to pull our country back from the brink of disaster, South Africa is an inspiration to peoples elsewhere in the world who are seeking the resolution of serious conflicts. We are proud of this remarkable achievement.At a political level, we have consolidated our democracy and built strong institutions as the Review indicates.We have representative legislatures, an independent judiciary, independent public audit, an independent Reserve Bank, and independent constitutional bodies to provide checks and balances and protect the rights of citizens.Thanks to our progressive Constitution, we enjoy freedom of movement and of association, the right to own property, the right not to be detained without trial, freedom of expression and freedom of the press, religious freedom and freedom of sexual orientation.Women have equal rights before the law which did not exist before 1994.Workers have 20 years of enjoying rights including trade union workplace organising, collective bargaining, equal pay for equal work, health and safety, affirmative action, skills development, minimum wages for workers in vulnerable sectors, the right to strike, and the right to peaceful protest.All South Africans have the right to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions, provided this is done peacefully and unarmed.The Review provides evidence of progress also in socioeconomic transformation.The inherited apartheid legacyBut, the legacy of apartheid that we inherited runs deep and still persists.I will mention just a few examples of what we inherited, before giving some highlights of progress made.The systematic dispossession of land under both colonialism and apartheid has left us with highly skewed racial distribution in land ownership and agricultural production as well as a struggling smallholder farming sector.The system of reserves which was introduced under colonialism and later reinforced as homelands under apartheid left a legacy of poverty and underdevelopment in former homeland rural areas.The homeland system was also linked to the migrant labour system. This is one of the root causes of the unrest which we are currently experiencing in our mining sector.Racial segregation was also enforced in urban areas. In this regard, one of the biggest challenges which the democratic government has faced has been how to address the entrenched apartheid spatial patterns.For example, many poor people live in townships which are far from their places of work, costing them more to get to work than those with the means.We are also still dealing with the impact of the Bantu education system which was designed to keep the black majority confined to unskilled labour.The provision of public health services and basic services such as water, sanitation, electricity and waste removal was also prioritised in white residential areas.This has caused a legacy of enormous backlogs in the infrastructure required to deliver these services.Progress made in 20 yearsDespite this legacy, we have recorded progress in socio-economic transformation as well, as we indicated in the State of the Nation Address last month.On average, the economy has grown at 3.2% a year from 1994 to 2012.This is a marked improvement over pre-1994 growth rates.The number of people in employment grew by approximately 5.6-million between 1994 and 2013, or by 60%.However, this growth, while most welcome, is modest compared with other emerging economies.It has also not been adequate to meet the objective of reducing unemployment substantially.Understanding unemploymentThe Review indicates that the increase in the number of those employed has been offset by a larger increase in the number of people looking for work.The reasons for this include population growth. Another factor is increasing urbanisation, which in turn was partly a result of the dismantling of the homeland system and the removal of the pass laws.There are also increasing numbers of women looking for work, due to advances in gender equality, which is another achievement of democracy and freedom.The Review describes the major advances in gender equality that has been achieved since 1994.To move the country forward, government, business and labour need to work together towards sustaining higher economic growth rates in future in order to substantially reduce unemployment. This is emphasised in the National Development Plan.Positions of power in the economy have become more representative since 1994, encouraged by government’s black economic empowerment and affirmative action policies.These policies will continue until the structural characteristics of apartheid in terms of inequality in ownership, management and control of the economy as well as pay have been addressed.Building economic and service infrastructureSince the mid-2000s, government has placed increasing emphasis on economic infrastructure such as ports, rail, dams and power stations.Our growing economy and rising standards of living have resulted in increased demand for road, rail, port, water, electricity and telecommunications infrastructure.Over the past five years, investment in this infrastructure has dramatically increased further.Central coordination of infrastructure delivery, through the Presidential Infrastructure Coordination Commission has improved delivery and assists to remove bottlenecks faster.Investments in infrastructure will increase further, including on much needed social infrastructure such as water, electricity, sanitation, schools, colleges and housing amongst others.With regards to basic services, it is impressive that a number of municipalities which had little or no pre-existing institutional foundations, have been able to deliver basic services to thousands of people who did not have them before in the past two decades.Some of the municipalities were geared towards serving a minority before 1994.The focus is now on reaching communities that are still waiting, particularly in informal settlements in urban areas and in remote rural areas.More importantly, the focus is on improving the technical and management expertise of municipalities so that they can function better and also be able to maintain key infrastructure that supplies water and electricity to communities amongst other services.The Review describes the various interventions which are currently being implemented to address these challenges.Pro-poor policiesTo fight poverty and inequality, as illustrated in detail in the review, a range of pro-poor government policies have been implemented since 1994, which is among South Africa’s key achievements.The result is that our country has achieved, or is on track to achieve, most of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals by 2015.Most of the achievements in reducing extreme levels of income poverty can be ascribed to government’s comprehensive social protection programme.This includes extensive income support programmes for close to 16-million orphans and vulnerable children, older persons and people with disability, among others.It also includes access to free education, primary health care and free basic services to indigent members of our society.Advances in educationI will mention a few examples in which South Africa has made progress.Over 8-million school children are now benefitting from no-fee policies.This has contributed to an increase in secondary school enrolment from 51% in 1994 to around 80% currently.About 9-million children are benefitting from the school feeding scheme and this has ensured that learners no longer have to study on an empty stomach.While backlogs in school infrastructure remain, thousands of schools have been built and connected to water and electricity supply since 1994. About 370 modern schools were built over the past five years alone.In 2009, we split the education departments into two, focusing on basic and higher education and training respectively, to ensure an intensive corrective focus in each sector.In the last five years, the Annual National Assessments (ANA) system was introduced to enable an objective assessment of the education system below Grade 12 for the first time.The relatively poor ANA results have demonstrated the extent of the apartheid damage. At the same time, the results also indicate that the system is starting to improve.University enrolment has almost doubled since 1994. There have also been huge increases in enrolments at further education and training (FET) colleges, following an intensive focus on these colleges in the past five years.The racial and gender composition of the student body has been markedly transformed since 1994.Government has been working on challenges in the FET sector to improve pass rates and change industry perceptions about the colleges.Investment in education is significant because education is central to development.It is the primary vehicle by which children of the poor can lift themselves out of poverty and obtain the means to participate meaningfully in the economy and in society.Access to healthcareAs most of you are aware, there have been great improvements in access to healthcare services as well since 1994.In addition to free basic health care, more than 1 500 healthcare facilities have been built and existing ones have been revitalised over the past 20 years.One of the major challenges that confronted the democratic government was the rapid rise in the HIV epidemic.The country’s improved response to HIV and AIDS and TB has resulted in dramatic improvements in health outcomes, such as increased life expectancy, reduced infant and child mortality rates, and tuberculosis (TB) treatment outcomes.South Africa’s HIV and AIDS response has now received international acclaim.There has also been a significant reduction in malaria cases and deaths due to malaria.Severe malnutrition has also significantly declined.Despite this progress, we must still improve the quality of care in the public health sector and also attend to the increasing private healthcare costs.Housing the peopleWith regards to housing, over the past 20 years, about 2.8-million government-subsidised houses and over 875 000 serviced sites were delivered.This enabled more than 12-million people access to accommodation and an asset. Fifty six percent of all housing subsidies allocated have been to woman-headed households.The proportion of people living in formal housing increased from 64% in 1996 to 77% in 2011.The land questionThe question of land remains a fundamental issue for those who were dispossessed in 1913.In 1994, 83% of agricultural land was owned by whites with only 17% being available to the black majority in the former homelands.Government introduced the Land Redistribution Programme in 1994.Since then, government has redistributed 9.4-million hectares of land, benefiting almost a quarter of a million people.The target had been 30% of the agricultural land owned by white South Africans.As the Review indicates, only 24% of black households are involved in agriculture, and very few commercial farms are owned by black people.A land audit has been completed which will assist to identify further land for reform purposes.Some laws are being finalised which will assist to improve the pace in the implementation of the land reform programme.These include improving land valuation mechanisms and also re-opening land claim opportunities for claimants who missed the opportunity in 1998.Fighting crime and corruptionWith regards to safety and security, the levels of serious crime and property crime have declined since 1994.However, crime levels remain high, particularly crime against vulnerable groups such as women and children which require continued intensive focus.A range of institutions, laws and measures have been put in place since 1994 to counter corruption.These are now being strengthened by implementing measures such as preventing public servants from doing business with the state and better management of the risks related to government procurement processes.Corruption is not only a public-sector problem and the country response has to include the private sector as well.Building the nationWe have made good progress in building social cohesion and promoting a new single national identity, and work is continuing in this regard.The biggest barrier to further increasing social cohesion is the remaining inequality in society which needs to be attended to further.Going forward, we should commit to working together further, to implement the National Development Plan to deal with remaining challenges and take our country forward.South Africa is a success story.South Africa is a good story.We have succeeded because of the hard work of all our people who contributed in various ways to rebuilding their country.We are honoured to place before the country this 20 Year Review which provides evidence in this regard.We humbly thank South Africans from all walks of life for their contribution to the successes that our country has scored.We also thank all those who participated in producing this 20 Year Review throughout the country.I invite South Africans to engage with this review.We trust that it will be useful in assessing the path we have travelled thus far, and in moving the country forward.Tribute to MadibaIn 1993, at former ANC President Oliver Tambo’s funeral, former President Nelson Mandela, stated; “Oliver Tambo has not died because the ideals of freedom, human dignity and a colour-blind respect for every individual cannot perish.”We say the same about Madiba.Tata has not died because the ideals he stood for will live forever.These ideals which are enshrined in the country’s Constitution and in the Freedom Charter, we will carry forward, as we continue our mission of building a united, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa.I thank you.last_img read more

Springboks to face strong World XV

first_img8 April 2013The Springboks will kick off their 2014 season against a World XV, to be coached by former Springbok coach Nick Mallett, at Newlands in Cape Town on 7 June, with the opposition set to be loaded with stars from both the southern and northern hemispheres.All Black legend Carl Hayman and Springbok World Cup winner, BJ Botha, have been named as front rankers in the first release of confirmed participants named by the organisers.The backline will feature outstanding Wallaby talents in James O’Connor, Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell, as well as All Black Hosea Gear in a team that has so far been drawn from five nations.France will be represented by stylish eighthman Julien Bonnaire and inside back François Trinh-Duc, while Toulon-based England backrower Steffon Armitage is part of a Six Nations triumvirate so far named.‘Unique opportunity’“This is an almost unique opportunity to see an international team playing in South Africa with the freedom of not needing a certain result,” said Jurie Roux, the CEO of the South African Rugby Union (Saru).“We’ve all watched on TV those festival-style games in the European winter, where great players combine their talents to produce some stunning rugby and provide a real challenge to the Sanzar nations on tour. We’ve now got one of those games on our doorstep.“We’re very excited about the players who will be turning out against the Boks at Newlands and we’ll be releasing a lot more big names in due course.”TicketsRoux said that Western Province season ticket holders had the option of purchasing their seat for the match between Monday, 7 April, and 7 May. Tickets for the match – priced at R250 and R350 – went on sale on Monday from Postnet outlets nationwide, the Western Province ticket office and online from www.ticketpros.co.za.The match against the World XV is the start of the 18-match countdown that coach Heyneke Meyer has in which to prepare the Springbok team for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.The Springboks will play 14 matches in 2014 before a shortened, four-match Castle Lager Rugby Championship in 2015, which will provide a final “warm-up” before the team departs for the World Cup next year.‘A challenge’“It’s always a challenge for the Springbok coach to prepare a team for the first test of the year as the squad only assembles in the week of the test,” said Meyer. “There are certain goals I have set for the team this year and the match against the Samsung-sponsored World XV, is the ideal opportunity to start putting those plans in place.“We enjoyed a relatively successful 2013, but we’ll be looking to step up a gear from the first minute of the first match of the year.”SAinfo reporterlast_img read more