a date with rugby destiny

I have been having one of those Months, when whatever you pin down on paper just doesn’t feel worth the trouble. While in between trying to fully live up to my commitment with Varsity Cup. So while I’ve seem to have ‘escape’ my blogging state, I thought I’ll share with you my article published last week.

My chat with one of South Africa’s rugby scribe whom I had a pleasure of interviewing past week… I hope you enjoy it.


With a nickname like ‘Tank’, it comes as no surprise that rugby was destined to become Andrew Lanning’s forte.

Born in the heart of South Africa – Johannesburg – Lanning adopted Cape Town as his home from an early age (where he was schooled) and today is an “Ikey Tiger through and through”.

Although he graduated from UCT in Social Science, majoring in Economics, with a post-graduate diploma in Marketing Management, this former Ikeys student and first team star is no stranger to the media, as he is the editor of one of SA’s leading sport news source – Sport24.

Rugby, as one would expect, has always been Tank’s first love.

After many happy amateur years at UCT, he made his Western Province debut in the late 1990s; however, a serious neck injury cut short a promising first-class rugby career.

“It was difficult having to deal with that, but I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved (with rugby) on the media side,” says Tank, who describes himself as a “once diabolic student, with nothing but rugby and a good old beer on my mind”.

Tank has made peace with his past and his present, however, adding in conversation with varsitycup.co.za: “I love writing, enjoy the commercial side of things and generally love my job.”

He started as a picture researcher and marketing novice in the sports and lifestyle publishing industry, followed by heading up their sports photo agency, before starting the online division. Later he became part of the Touchline Media family before switching across to sport24.co.za.

Lanning covered his media bases through a Media and Management course he completed from Stellenbosch Business School, as well as a ‘Publishing on the Web’ course at Stanford University in California.

As a publisher, Tank is at the forefront of sports tournaments and the Varsity Cup is no exception.

This rugby pundit reckons this year’s tournament was bigger not only because of the media attention, but due to the way it was run. Even with a number of changes he would like to see in 2012, he still praises the platform this competition is providing for amateurs.

“It introduces them to great grinding, exposure they didn’t receive in high school and opens phenomenal doors – without a doubt coaches are watching closely,” he concludes.

Ecstatic about his former club finally clinching the big one, Tank is a realist and councils that hard work awaits the champions, as teams like UJ and Tuks are proving to be competitive which is a big threat to powerhouses like Maties and, of course, the new champs, UCT.

Asked what he regards as the highlight of his provincial career, without hesitation, he reflects on his days at WP, particularly “hammering the Blue Bulls at a packed Newlands”, as he happily puts it. “I was a laaitjie and I think Naas (Botha) was playing. It was a special beating them in front of our home crowd.”

Lanning is a man who has played both sides – realising his dream as participant on the field and as observer par excellence off the field; all of which began with a spell at the University of Cape Town.

Follow Tank on Twitter – @TankLanning

By Kate Nokwe

This article is a product of Varsity Cup

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just a tad

Okay, so I left this a bit late and probably should be blogging about other things such as Chelsea’s defeat to my number one soccer love affair – Liverpool. But since I had a draft already, my Currie Cup blog would not let up – so here it is:

With the rivalry extending beyond the rugby pitch, we all could be forgiven for allowing the Currie Cup to take over our lives for an entire week leading to last week’s final.

Social media – particularly Twitter – buzzed two days after the authentication of the giants that will meet to battle out for the coveted 2010 title. Western Province rose to the occasion after (impressively) thrashing the Free State side. The Pretoria giants suffered an unconventional defeat at the hands of the Durbanites. No one was more distraught than me.

For Western Province @JustWP was birthed and @Just_Sharks for the men in black and white. As an avid Bulls, this was of no interest to me. “I will not be succumbing to this; the Currie Cup is over, fourth place is where it all ends”.

That was my tune for an entire week, but both twitter account controllers wouldn’t let up and no matter how hard I ignored them they kept appearing on my timeline. So I finally gave in and followed both accounts. Just Sharks was really impressive, he communicated with his followers and it’s a wonder he didn’t win the Twitter battle. Just WP promised to display all our names onto this banner/shirt (I’m yet to see that).

The day arrived and this Bull still didn’t know whose nest it should put its eggs into. So I don my Boks jersey, a symbol of supporting both teams. I reckoned SA rugby deserved a great deal more than my shattered Bull dream. After being shut off from the male dominated Dros Pub, with Paddy’s a bit out of the way, my co and I headed for the next best spot – Spur.

Sadly we missed L’lyod and Elvis Blue’s performance, but we were in time to see one of the best thrashings in history. My friend (I will meet him one day) Neal Collins bravely called the game almost perfectly. Not many (me included) believed Plumtree and his boys would do it.

Why would they (we), Cootzee’s men were stronger on paper and had a great season, but not much timing – it seems. As Super 14’s runners up this was to be Province’s day, but not taking the many three points opportunities add the many handling errors.

It was clear from the first half just which coast team wanted it the most. ‘9 years too late’, It seemed Patrick Lambie in and his youthful boot were shouting, as his side held the men in blue and white a tad bit longer from the gold.

The Sharks’ match-winning scoreline of 30-10 suggests the winners were three times better than the Cape rugby. They (WP) may have won the twitter battle, but it takes a hell lot more than a million tweets to win a war. A heart and soul make champions or you wait a tad. Just a tad bit.

Well done Sharks. You’re great. You make this country great.

legendary feet. legendary heart.

They say a legend is an old man with a cane known for what he used to do; that his accolades best describe him and gives his audience a reason to remember him. For years, and to no end, the Real Steven Pienaar will enter the book of class greats.

The past weekend was one of legends (at least what can be classified as legendary moments), and a few step-up to the scale.

These includes Kurtley Beal – a Wallabie that tore at the hearts of many Boks. The Lions roared louder than any bad Storm causing the biggest upset in 2010 Currie Cup (since Pumas embarrassed the over-confident Bulls), by thrashing Western Province.

Frankly, I wasn’t upset all, neither was The Star Newspaper’s Chief Sport writer – Kevin McCallum – who probably opened more beer cans than he had in his life. Cindy Poluta of Eyewitness News Sport kicked up her heels for her beloved Lions.  But the man of the weekend has to be Schillo.

Bafana Bafana has evolved under the guidance of Carlos, and seems to be souring with Pitso in the driving seat. The 2010 World Cup has left an impressionable legacy. My white boss actually won a ‘Name a Bafana’ contest against her brother and husband.

Yeah this inheritance is serving the white household, and on the pitch it was evident on the Blackstars / Niger clashes. The endless missed opportunities (especially against Niger) are an extensive concern though, and while Pitso may be a patient man, the Boks have shown the SA Fan Club is anything but.

Pienaar flaunted his escalating ball skills, hushing his critics and fueling the ever burning fire of his fan base by collecting the MOM award. The Everton man proved once again why he is SA’s greatest export to the English League and an avid midfielder.

While most players wouldn’t part with the ball in the ’18 area’, Schillo displayed his unselfish heart by sending one of those legendary passes to a man who, even though lacks composure (at times), deserves to be playing in the English soil – Katlego ‘Killer’ Mphela. Bernard Parker’s goal and the other five that should have been are a reflection of this Capetonian’s God given structure.

If I had illusions of making pro-soccer Pienaar’s jersey would probably be on my wall.

Ah Legendary Heart. Legendary Feat.

puzzle to complete

There’s a ‘legend’ that most insomniacs fuel all too well; marriages end, suicides committed, worst lyrics written (insert – Shakira – ‘Whenever, Wherever’ or Des’ree – ‘Life’) ,just about the most disgruntling contentions and ….well I’m blogging, surely it is true; ‘Nothing Good Happens After 2AM’. (Okay maybe that’s just a not-so-funny rendition of a ‘How I Met Your Mother’ episode).

Like it usually does, it started at a very odd hour, while few graced the rez cold tv room, heels across the corridors evidence to the tales of student life on a Saturday evening.

In the far away land of the English, a bunch of ‘ball pushers’ were sweating their pants off in anticipation, our ‘Blade Runner’ was breaking a WR, and Hants were gunning for gold.

Back home, John Mitchell’s boys claimed their first win in seven months, Bulls to suffer an unconventional Province beating. And elsewhere, Tiger’s slipping down leader-board and there’s me who had just woken up. Seriously, past the hour of 02:00.

Fully alert now I took to Twitter, the latest fiend (and so a ‘compatriot’ kindly shares) came across Lyndon Ferns. The name ‘sounds’ familiar I thought, checks bio and yep confirmed.

Then it dawned on me, there’s a puzzle I’ve neglected for years and the quest could wait no longer.

In 2004 SA stunned the world by winning the gold medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay at the Athens Olympics, beating big names to claim the ultimate prize for the rainbow nation. This honour served by Roland Schoeman, Ryk Neethling, Lyndon Ferns, and…and errr..?

Athens 2004 is a phenomenon any sport loving South African shall never forget. Whenever the words ‘sport’, ‘moments’, ‘great’, ‘SA’,’history’ are used in the same sentence Schoeman and his buddies smile their asses onto the picture, but somehow, it seems the “other guy’s” name just never gets the memo.

Okay, I might be a self confessed-sports fanatic, but I didn’t always pay much attention to swimming,  Give me a break its a ‘rich man’s sport’, so quit judging.

Anyway, thank God (it turns out, for some miracle) the ‘he is no fool than he who never asks'(or something like that. I was borderline ADD) proverb made its way to the left side of my brain and so, I invaded timelines in pursuit of redemption.

‘Ahhh, but you,you Twitter are the greatest of them all creatures’, I grinned – after being failed by the wonders of Google for BlackBerry – as one Lyndon Ferns rose to my aid (so did Ryk..half an hour later).

Forget my ‘Cows’ (as one Yanky pal refers to them) being tamed, Drogba’s hat-trick, Tiger’s disarray, Oz’s sheer stupendous, Neil Mac’s MOM, that was yesterday. Today, (insert- Liverpool shall reign!) greater than Invictus, marks the anniversary of one of those SA sporting moments.

Ferns, Neethling and Schoeman must’ve thought I ‘trespassed’ their twitter accounts simply to share the sentiments. For it is true six year ago, 15 August, SA’s sensational swimming quartet gave us something to be proud of – In gold.

But no, I simply had a puzzle to complete, and one Darian Townsend entered the board and fit perfectly… At 3 O’clock in the morning.

K8