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Blue Bulls Rugby CEO Alfons Meyer to leave at end of May



Blue Bulls Rugby Chief Executive Officer Alfons Meyer. COURTESY: Blue Bulls Rugby

South African rugby side the Blue Bulls announced that its Chief Executive Officer Alfons Meyer will be leaving the company at the end of May 2020.

According to a local media outlet, News24, the Blue Bulls said that Meyer’s departure was due to personal reasons.

In a statement on its website, the Company said that it respected Meyer’s decision to leave and wished him well in his future endeavours.

“We would like to thank Alfons for his great contribution to the company. Over the past year he has been instrumental in the restructure of the Blue Bulls Company, and has laid a strong foundation on which the company can build and become the world class team again that it once was,” Blue Bulls Board Chairman Pieter Uys said.

Meyer expressed his gratitude to the Blue Bulls noting that his time with the Company had been the highlight of his professional career.

“2019 was an exceptional year to be part of the Vodacom Bulls Super Rugby campaign, and to play a major role in the equity transaction which saw Mr. Patrice Motsepe become part of the #BullsFamily as an investor was a privilege. I wish the staff and players all the best, especially during these extraordinary times – I will remain a loyal supporter forever!”

Meyer joined the Blue Bulls Company in January 2019, replacing Barend van Graan, and his contract was due to expire at the end of 2020.

One of Meyer’s last contributions to oversee the appointment of Rugby World Cup winning coach Jake White as director of rugby until the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

The Vodacom Bulls, based in Pretoria, are three-time winners of the international rugby union club competition Super Rugby claiming the prize in 2007, 2009 and 2010.

They currently lie in fourth place in Super Rugby’s South Africa Conference and are 11th in the overall standings.

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Clive Sullivan: Trailblazing Great Britain captain to be honoured at 2021 Rugby League World Cup | Rugby League News



Welsh winger Clive Sullivan was the first Black athlete to captain a British national team and skippered Great Britain to glory in the 1972 World Cup; The ‘Sully Ball’ will be used in the men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions the postponed 2021 tournament

Last Updated: 08/12/21 12:50pm

Former Great Britain captain Clive Sullivan's name will adorn the official ball of the postponed Rugby league World Cup

Former Great Britain captain Clive Sullivan’s name will adorn the official ball of the postponed Rugby league World Cup

Clive Sullivan MBE will be remembered at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup after organisers announced the official ball of the tournament will be named in his honour.

Sullivan, who was the first Black sportsman to captain a British national team, skippered Great Britain to World Cup glory in 1972 and scored an iconic try in the final against Australia.

With the postponed tournament now taking place in what will be 50 years on from that historic success, the Welsh winger’s impact on the sport and wider society will be recognised with the ‘Sully Ball’, which will be used in all 61 matches across the men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions.

“Clive Sullivan is a true British sporting icon – a pioneer in our sport and the captain of the last British Rugby League World Cup-winning team,” RLWC2021 chief executive Jon Dutton said.

“It is important to celebrate the rich and vibrant heritage that the sport has, and this is a wonderful opportunity to bring to life a key moment from past history.

“What Clive achieved in rugby league is phenomenal and the wider impact he had in sport and society will always be remembered.”

Clive Sullivan: Great Britain’s first black sports team captain

Rugby league legend Clive Sullivan featured in our Hidden Figures online series, running in Black History Month.

Sullivan enjoyed a stellar career of over two decades in the 13-man code after making the switch from rugby union aged 17, in particular starring for Hull FC and Hull Kingston Rovers and remaining revered by fans on each side of the city’s rugby league divide to this day.

He made his Great Britain debut in 1967 and scored 13 tries in 17 international appearances, as well as helping them to World Cup glory in France as captain. Sadly, however, his life was cut short at the age of 42 after dying of cancer in 1985.

His legacy lives on though and the ball has been designed in conjunction with manufacturers Steeden and the Sullivan family. Indeed, his son Anthony, who also represented Great Britain and was a dual-code Wales international, is delighted to see his father honoured in this way.

For all of the family it will be very special to see him appreciated in this way and for his name to positively impact future generations within the sport.

Clive Sullivan’s son Anthony

“My father would be both honoured and humbled to see his achievements recognised in this manner,” Sullivan, who won both the Super League title and Challenge Cup as a winger with St Helens, said.

“He would, I am sure, take this opportunity to pay tribute to his team-mates and the staff involved in that inspirational World Cup victory.

“For all of the family it will be very special to see him appreciated in this way and for his name to positively impact future generations within the sport.”

Wigan joins RLWC2021 venues as fixtures confirmed

The DW Stadium will host a quarter-final in the revised 2021 Rugby League World Cup schedule in place of Anfield.

The move to honour Sullivan in this manner has been roundly welcomed by his Great Britain team-mate and former Sky Sports pundit Mike Stephenson, who played at hooker in that World Cup-winning team.

“It came down to team spirit and the captaincy of Clive because we bonded very quickly,” Stephenson said, reflecting on Sullivan’s impact on the team in that successful campaign. “Clive was a fantastic team-mate and continues to be a great ambassador for our game.

“Through this initiative, we have the opportunity to educate the next generation of fans on the journey of our sport and the positive role Clive played in its success.”

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‘Small tweaks’ can propel All Blacks to World Cup glory



All Blacks flanker Sam Cane believes that they can use the “hurt” of their disappointing end to 2021 to drive them to World Cup success in two years’ time.

New Zealand faltered towards the latter part of the season, succumbing to the Springboks, Ireland and France to leave head coach Ian Foster under pressure going into 2022.

The three-time world champions will be among the favourites for the global title in 2023 but they appear to have slipped behind some of their competitors.

They will need to reassess over the next few months ahead of their July Tests against Ireland and Cane, who recently signed a new deal with New Zealand Rugby, insists they will find those answers as the All Blacks look to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for the fourth time.

Winning the gain line

“Hopefully in two years’ time, when we are exactly where we want to be holding a World Cup, we can look back at this point and say it was one of the better things that happened for this group, even though it hurt at the time,” Cane told reporters.

“We are still up there with the best in the world when we get front-foot ball. It only needs to be two or three quick phases and we have got guys who can exploit that. But when we get drilled behind the gain line, we become like every other team and have to resort to contestable kicks, or kicks not on our terms.

“So it is about making small tweaks to our attack structure. We have identified we need to be better at creating two or three rucks of quick go-forward ball.

“If one of us makes an error each game, all of a sudden that is 15 errors. We can all be better at minimising those … and we had a chat around game-management, particularly after the Ireland loss.”

Despite having their worst season since 2009 Cane refuses to believe that mass changes are needed, both in terms of personnel and playing style.

“When things don’t go as planned a couple of times, you feel like you need to break down every component and change lots of different things but often it is only two or three small tweaks which can make a big difference,” he added.

“While we were in MIQ there were a lot of zoom calls, meetings, reviews, and a lot of time to think as well. We felt like we turned over every rock and had every conversation we could have, between coaches, leadership meetings and player-driven stuff.”

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Help for team and fans to watch the Rugby League World Cup



The Fiji Bati team’s preparation to the Rugby League World Cup in England next year has been boosted with a renewed Fiji National Rugby League and FMF Foods Ltd partnership.

The company is sponsoring the team to the RLWC and the sport’s community and elite pathway programs.

FNRL chairman Viliame Naupoto said FMF was a household Fijian brand that resonated with Fijian communities.

“I am delighted to announce for the first time, FMF Foods Ltd as an official major sponsor of the Vodafone Fiji Bati team and official partner of the FNRL community and pathways programs,” Naupoto said.

“It is an exciting time to be working with new partners for the Rugby League World Cup journey to the United Kingdom and I thank FMF Foods Ltd for coming onboard as our newest partner with full confidence in the Fiji Bati brand.”

The company has promised quality support for the team and fans who intend to be part of the RLWC in the UK from October 15 to November 19, next year.

“Rugby is a sport that motivates all of us Fijians to come together as one,” said FMF managing director Sanjay Punja.

“FMF is playing a vital part in this with the sponsorship of the Fiji Bati and rugby league in Fiji.

“We are no strangers in sponsoring sports and rugby league in this case. Over a decade ago, we sponsored the Fiji Bati to perform at the international stage. This belief and faith has continued and remains.

“We have been involved with players such as Noa Nadruku, Lote Tuqiri, Joeli Vidiri and more individuals in the past.

This time around we are supporting Fiji National Rugby League as a team. It is a substantial amount and if all goes well, we can do more.

“This partnership is for a long term which is also beyond the Rugby League World Cup.

“Leading to the world cup, there are many exciting promotions with FMF which includes fully paid trip, accommodation and expenses to watch the Fiji Bati live in England. I wish the Fiji Bati the best in their coming games at the world cup.”

Fiji is pooled with Australia, Scotland and Italy in Group B. Fiji meets Australia on October 15 after the opening ceremony.

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