Tipping the scales: Romain Taofifenua has been throwing his considerable weight around for Perpignan this seasonBy Gavin MortimerROMAIN TAOFIFENUA is a big lad. Just how big remains something of a mystery. According to which paper you read in France, his weight in the last few months has fluctuated between 125 kgs and 133 kgs. Then again, assuming the official Perpignan website hasn’t got a wonky set of scales, Taofifenua comes in at an eye-wateringly impressive 140kg (just over 22 stone in old money), making him in all probability the heaviest player in professional rugby. Heavier even than Sale and Ireland prop Tony Buckley, who will need to get stuck into a Lancashire hot pot or five in the next few weeks if he’s to add to his featherweight 138kgs.Taofifenua is the latest sensation in French rugby. Included in Philippe Saint-Andre’s Six Nations squad at the weekend, the 22-year-old is an imposing figure regardless of how much he actually weighs. He stands 6ft 5in and is blessed with a deceptively soft touch for such a huge man. Against Clermont last week he scored Perpignan’s only try of the game in the 26-19 victory in what was a man of the match performance. “He possesses a physique that is outside the norm,” said Perpignan captain Nicolas Mas understatedly. “When someone as colossal as he is combines that with technical skill it’s really impressive.”Task master: Saint-Andre pushed TaofifenuaNonetheless Taofifenua – known as ‘Tao’ to his teammates – was given a sharp lesson earlier in the season by Saint-Andre. Having made his international debut in June against Argentina, Taofifenua was omitted from the French squad for their trio of November internationals. Saint-Andre explained why earlier in the week. “Tao has played really well for Perpignan recently. He went on tour with us to Argentina in June [but] in November he hadn’t done enough work in our opinion. Since November you can see by his performances the effort he has put in. You’d have to be blind not see the difference between his performances at the start of the season and now.”In fairness to Taofifenua he did break a hand in a pre-season friendly against Montpellier, an injury that sidelined him for the start of the season and led to his gaining a few extra kilos. He’s admitted in the past that controlling his weight is something he has to work hard at, though it’s not something that alarms him unduly. But then not much alarms Taofifenua, who spends his spare time listening to reggae. Shy and quietly-spoken, Taofifenua describes himself as “cool…I don’t suffer from stress or apprehension”.His brother, Sebastien, two years younger and ten kilos lighter, is a promising prop who has played for Perpignan and France U20. Even he is astonished by the laid-back demeanour of his brother, telling one journalist interviewing Tao that “he won’t even read the article…he doesn’t care.” NOT FOR FEATURED LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS At the end of last year Taofifenua extended his contract with Perpignan until June 2014, a fillip for the club who were aware of the interest of usual suspects Toulon, Toulouse and Racing. He’s already being described as the French star of the 2015 World Cup, as another big French lad was for the 2007 tournament. The difference is that Taofifenua, unlike Sebastien Chabal, is a seriously good rugby player.Follow Gavin Mortimer on Twitter @gavinmortimer7 The brothers have their father to thank for their rugby prowess. Willy Taofifenua was a stalwart in the Grenoble back-row for many years, and if the name rings a bell it might be on account of the 28-day ban he received in 1999 after laying low Edinburgh flanker Graham Dall during a spicy Heineken Cup encounter.Willy was born in Nouméa, the capital of New Caledonia in French Polynesia, but his boys were born in France, as was their cousin, Toulouse hooker Christopher Tolofua, who was also capped on France’s summer tour to Argentina.Tutor: Charteris will miss the Six NationsTolofua hasn’t made the French squad for the Six Nations but Romain is in, thanks to Saint-Andre’s proverbial kick up the rear, but also to the influence of Welsh lock Luke Charteris. Though Charteris will miss the Six Nations because of a knee injury, he may have some indirect bearing on the tournament should Taofifenua shine for France. Charteris packed down alongside the youngster throughout the autumn and Taofifenua benefited from the experience. “Luke likes the aerial game,” explained Taofifenua in a recent interview. “He’s a runner, a tackler, he can play in the back-row. With me it’s the opposite. I run less than him but I touch the ball more.”
Month: June 2021
TAGS: Northampton Saints The Barbarians live on, Dan Lydiate returns from France, rugby’s US expansion and Gareth Davies’ new role as WRU chairman is all covered in October’s wrap Last month’s European Rugby Champions Cup (please Lord find a shortened version for this tournament) saw the best in the Aviva Premiership take on the best in the Guinness Pro 12. The Ospreys had entered the fixture unbeaten in the Pro 12, but this season Northampton Saints represent a significant hike in quality. Even the in-form Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb and Alun-Wyn Jones struggled to make influence the game at Franklin’s Garden. The gulf between the two sides was particularly evident at the breakdown where Tom Wood, Samu Manoa and Calum Clark were highly effective – Justin Tipuric was uncharacteristically shut out of the game. However, special praise must be reserved for George North who scored four tries. He actually scored more points than 13 of the teams playing in that weekend’s Rugby Champions Cup. It’s so encouraging to see North being utilised so effectively. The Saints backline regularly play him off the 13 or 15 instead of forcing him to carry senselessly into backrow forwards in the 9 and 10 channel. Make no mistake, Northampton are the real deal this season.Saint George: Northampton are shaping up as genuine European contendersBalance at the WRUOctober saw Gareth Davies appointed as the new Chairman of the WRU. It appears a prudent decision. Not only does Davies have the elite rugby CV required, his commercial credentials are equally reassuring – the former CEO of the Newport Gwent Dragons has also held senior roles within CBI Wales, BBC Wales, S4C, the Sports Council for Wales and the Royal Mail. The appointment of Davies should be seen as a positive move for Welsh rugby as a whole, but particularly the four Welsh regions (who have recently rebranded as Pro Rugby Wales). Davies’ arrival represents a more equitable power shift from the WRU towards the regions. In recent times it has felt as though the WRU were sitting around the boardroom table, in luxurious soft leather upholstered chairs, whilst the regions were asked to sit on those slightly worn chairs you retrieve from the garage when your entire family nip around unannounced. This isn’t to suggest that Davies will offer any bias, he won’t, he isn’t that sort of man, but he will ensure that any disagreements are met with a fair and balanced approach for all parties. That can only be good for Welsh rugby. Carter draw: The superstar All Blacks came to the lucrative US and conquered so why not Europe?Rugby tries to crack the USAThe past week saw the All Blacks travel to the USA to take on the Eagles. The move was met by some with cynicism, sniggers and talk of selling out for a few dollars, especially with Sonny Bill Williams and Dan Carter back in tow. But those sentiments are way off the mark. Rugby needs to grow both its commercial and participation numbers. Whilst the rugby public would love to believe that our sport is the premier game in the world, most of the world doesn’t even know rugby exists. Rugby’s relatively small target audience has big consequences outside of the slush funds that pour through the AVIVA Premiership and Top 14 – Welsh and Australian rugby being just two examples of cash shortfalls. Some think that the expansion of rugby into new countries, particularly the playing of domestic club fixtures overseas, will be detrimental to traditional rugby playing nations. But it won’t, quite the opposite, the long-term expansion of the game will benefit all. New markets bring new audiences, new audiences bring TV and TV brings sponsors. American dollars could be a game-changer for many in rugby – such expansion could mean that the first sponsor of the Millennium Stadium is an American company seeking to expand in Europe. Rugby needs to embrace new markets and revenue streams – every other successful organisation does and rugby should be no different. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Australia v Barbarians. Take a bowI feel sorry for whichever producer was tasked with producing the highlights package for the Barbarians v Australia game. Cutting that down to 15 minutes must have been a nightmare. It was pure entertainment and a wonderful antidote to the paranoid, stifling game that test level rugby can become. Between both sides the ball was passed 417 times. To put that in perspective, the last time Wales played South Africa, both teams managed just 237 passes combined. It was a glorious exhibition where hands took precedence over feet with Australia kicking the ball just four times. There were 37 clean breaks, 57 defenders beaten and 50 offloads – it was like watching 15 year-old boys ‘preening when their girlfriend’s come to watch them play down the local rugby club. But above all it showed that rugby, when played with the right mind-set, can compete in the entertainment stakes with any sport in the world.Lydiate returns: The Wales blindside will not be short of offersDan Lydiate released earlyOctober saw Dan Lydiate released from his contract with Racing Metro. It was no surprise as Lydiate had only played four hours of competitive rugby for Racing Metro this season. Lydiate’s time in French rugby has been torrid. In fact Welsh-French entente cordiale hasn’t reached such an awkward low since my ill-fated pen-pal relationship with a girl from La Rochelle in 1987 – she wrote to me 12 times, I didn’t RSVP once. Anyway, I digress, in truth, The British Lion and former Six Nations Player of the Tournament wasn’t suited to the Top 14. This is a league that values versatile, almost generic, back row forwards such as Steffon Armitage and Juan Martín Fernandez Lobbe – players who can play two or even three positions in the backrow. It almost makes you wonder if Racing Metro’s scouts even watched Lydiate’s highlights showreel before they signed him. Lydiate is a highly specialised six, the Dennis Rodman of rugby, a player who has perfected his defensive role to a level that it almost redefined the ‘tackle-line’. Lydiate hasn’t yet declared for which team he will now play, largely due to confusion regarding his suitability for a dual-contract, and which Welsh region has the right to claim him. Either way, Lydiate shouldn’t be short of offers.Northampton. Genuine contenders for Europe Hair raising: The Barbarians vs Australia was a welcome return to risky rugby
In selecting Jonathan Joseph, Stuart Lancaster has deployed an in-form attacking weapon that could trouble his much-vaunted opposite number. We analyse a fascinating match-up. Centre of attention: jonathan Joseph faces Wales and Jonathan Davies on Friday evening Speed, vision, a delicate grubber, footwork and a composed pass – these tries contain plenty of common ground. Indeed, both men are consummate, classy operators. Their clash will be a fascinating facet of Friday night. Deep down, Stuart Lancaster must be pretty excited about Saturday lunchtime. By then, England’s head coach will be back over the Severn Bridge, his mind already turned to hosting Italy. Whatever the previous evening’s result, he will be able to stop answering questions about March 16, 2013 and move on.A Grand Slam-shattering thrashing at the Millennium Stadium precisely 691 days ago has proved an inescapably seminal event in Lancaster’s tenure, with so much of its well-worn narrative centred on the venue and how a young team was enveloped by emotion, seemingly crowded out by the entire nation of Wales.Those themes have been rehashed and regurgitated so many times that Lancaster felt the need to reinforce a fundamental truism yesterday morning.“It’s a great stadium to play in with a new pitch, so it’ll be a fast game,” he said. “The atmosphere will be excellent, as always. But it’s about playing the opposition, not the stadium. About playing your opposite man and getting on top of him.”Personal tussles are another enticing way of previewing what is set to be an enthralling Friday evening. A tête-à-tête between props Samson Lee and Joe Marler tops the bill and intrigue runs all the way down either teamsheet.Though Lancaster is undeniably ravaged by injuries, the enviable strength in depth of English rugby means he reintroduces four British and Irish Lions – Tom Croft, Tom Youngs, Mako Vunipola and Dan Cole – plus a handful of the Aviva Premiership’s most influential performers.In the latter category is Jonathan Joseph, deployed at outside centre. In scintillating fettle for Bath, he has promised to “be himself” in Cardiff. Coiled in the red corner, Jonathan Davies awaits. Here is a look at what to expect from a compelling match-up.Ready and waiting: Jonathan Davies, here taking on the SpringboksGritting teeth on the gainlineWarren Gatland‘s around-the-corner attacking approach has been pilloried for its rigidity, but the powerful personnel involved still pose problems whatever their structure. A stocky, well-balanced runner, Davies is a dangerous figure in terms of winning collisions.Though his summer move from Scarlets to Clermont has not been an entirely smooth transition, the Top 14 giants are beginning to utilise him nicely. This barge against Saracens a fortnight ago was typical of Davies at his best. It is a tenacious, clever angle with enough explosive strength to bump Brad Barritt off. The Clermont forwards can march beyond the ball easily:On the back foot and disorganised from this surge, Saracens were powerless to prevent Nick Abdendanon darting over just three phases later. Not previously heralded for qualities, Joseph must be courageous and proactive in order to quell Davies.Luckily, this season has seen exactly that, as Andy Farrell highlighted when England’s Six Nations squad was announced. In a famous 35-18 defeat of Toulouse, Joseph made the second most tackles among the Bath side.Watch how he responds to turnover ball from this lost lineout, first pressing up on burly All Black Luke McAllister. Joseph stays on his feet to contribute to the next phase, in which he does just enough to fell hooker Corey Flynn on an inside ball:Putting one’s body on the line – even if the concept has long passed into cliché – does not come instinctively to every player. Sheer bravery is a mind-set and some need to work hard in order for it to manifest itself. For that reason, this stunning try-saver against Glasgow Warriors would not have gone unnoticed by Lancaster:A closer look shows Joseph’s desire to scramble across, married to sound technique and athleticism in order to shepherd Sean Maitland away from the whitewash:Each of those qualities will be required when Wales are in possession tomorrow. But Joseph can be confident of causing trouble too.Gliding and guessingOutside centre is perhaps the most difficult position to defend. Often isolated and exposed, one mistake can easily ship a score to clinical rivals. Unfortunately for Wales, South Africa found joy in and around Davies’ channel this summer. First, watch this try from the first Test in Durban:Willie Le Roux’s break and chip are instrumental in Bryan Habana dotting down. That said, Davies is responsible for the primary opening. Failing to trust Dan Biggar on his inside, he needlessly pinches in to cover JP Pietersen. Morné Steyn‘s cut-out pass punishes a poor decision:Now to the second Test in Nelspruit, and one of the tries of 2014:More Le Roux magic and another eye-catching effort, on this occasion for Cornal Hendricks. But again it is a midfield muddle that brings about the opening. Watch as Le Roux takes the ball to the line and passes to Pietersen: While it should be stressed that Wales were down to 13 men at this point, they are numbered up well until Davies is slow to drift. The direction of his shoulders here demonstrate how he is uncertain of Jamie Roberts‘ ability to cover across:A split second of hesitation gives Pietersen a two-on-one. Davies is outstripped as Alex Cuthbert rightly drifts onto the last man and the break is made.Without wishing to pile on criticism, Davies would also have been furious with this try later on in a heartbreaking 31-30 loss. Track him and watch the indecision. He never takes his eyes off Le Roux:Once more, it is a lack of confidence in his inside man Ken Owens – betrayed by body position –rather than physicality that Le Roux capitalises on. Joseph is easily capable of taking advantage as well, as this piece of play later in the Glasgow game shows:Mike Catt likened his then-London Irish protégé to Jeremy Guscott back in 2012. This outside arc and pass, fashioning an opportunity from a two-on-two situation, is a neat exhibition of that thinking. Take it in two parts, initially a jink on the direction of George Ford‘s pass to put Mark Bennett off balance:Then, as Sean Lamont steps in, a perfectly-timed pop to Anthony Watson, who should have scored:Joseph’s pace and copybook habit of holding the ball in two hands means that there is no easy solution. If he does manage to scamper onto an outside shoulder and the wide defender remains man-for-man, he is just as threatening. Sometimes the pass is not needed. Just ask Niall Morris and Mathew Tait of Leicester Tigers:One seemingly innocuous instance during Clermont’s win over Saracens encapsulated how Davies will be looking to hamper Joseph:As the Premiership club look to spread the ball, Davies executes a ‘soft’ drift flawlessly, staying narrow and connected with defenders either side with his shoulders angled towards the touchline – therefore not closing himself off. Saracens are forced to kick.This screenshot shows Davies, pointing with his right arm, can also organise coverage of the inside pass:Something from nothingAny Anglo-Welsh tie will go through periods of unapologetic attrition. Close-quarter phase-play, breakdown and set-piece will go a long way towards deciding Friday’s outcome. However, things might open up as each half drags on.Any spectacle is enhanced by the presence of gifted players who can conjure tries from nowhere – just as Davies managed against Sale back in October……and Joseph did at the Stade Ernest-Wallon last month: LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS
LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Going out at the top: Richie holds aloft his second Rugby World Cup Legendary All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has hung up his boots, drawing to a close the most illustrious career in the modern era “It has been hell of a journey over the last 15 years. I’ve been privileged to do what I love for so long. Here’s to new adventures.”Buckle up, Richie, stay safe and thanks for the memories. Then there was the ‘McCaw elbow’ on Francois Louw that sent social media into overdrive after the pulsating World Cup semi-final. Yet again McCaw was under the microscope, even though he was absolved of any blame.After hanging on with a bust up foot, in 2011, in 2015, he was influential as ever in the World Cup final, hitting the rucks, carrying hard and popping up as a link man. He also refused to panic when the Wallabies battled back to 21-17, trusting in his team to do the basics and his feted lieutenant, Dan Carter to add the dash of magic.In the beginning (far right): A fresh-faced McCaw before his debut in Dublin, in 2001As much as his playing skills were lauded, his leadership was also of the highest order. After the final, with the blemishes on his face still red raw, soaked in sweat, he summed up his team-first ethos. “No person is bigger than the team. Your job is just to enhance the legacy. It’s not about being a hero. It’s about serving the team.”You can only imagine the collective gulp from Sam Cane and Ardie Savea, the two seven’s expected to fight for his shirt in the next decade, at trying to follow that act.His retirement was typically understated. He spoke movingly about ‘his hero’ Jonah Lomu, holding a minute’s silence. It has never been his style to detract detention away from the All Blacks or individuals. “I made no secret this year was probably going to be my last but deep downI didn’t want to shut the door totally. I was worried the emotion might get to me in a World Cup year, by leaving that door open, it didn’t feel final until now.”Thanks for the memories: McCaw retires as arguably the greatest player everOn the final whistle, many pondered whether Richie would call it a day in the immediate aftermath, but no, he waited 19 days to go out on his own terms, and with the minimum of fuss. TAGS: Highlight Imagine you’re taking your seat about to take flight. You’re a little nervous of flying. What would soothe your nerves faster than a stiff drink. Probably the words, ‘this is your captain speaking. My name is Richie McCaw.”Yes, the great man is finally hanging up the boots after 148 Tests for the best team in the world in arguably the most attritional position of all, the fabled All Black No 7 shirt. His next aim, to qualify to become a commercial helicopter pilot. With a grandfather who flew fighter planes in World War II, few would bet against him being a dab hand at that, too.When we regaled at the likes of Michael Jones and the wonderful Josh Kronfeld wearing the shirt with such aplomb, few would have thought the young loosie from the nondescript farming village of Kurow, near Otago would better that duo, but he did, with interest.Calling the shots: McCaw was competitive to the very endBefore you search into his character, just reading the statistics over a 14-year All Black career will tell you all you need to know about the winning mentality of a man who Steve Hansen has dubbed ‘the greatest All Black ever’. He won 131 of his 148 Tests, captaining them to 97 wins in 110 Tests, won two World Cups and picked up three World Player of the Year awards, not to mention seven Rugby Championships. He is peerless, and you seriously wonder if any other player will be able to match such elevated standards.A childhood friend, Andrew Gard, described how McCaw’s talent was apparent in his formative years. “Richie got noticed early because he was going where the ball was going to be, instead of where it was. If you ever go and watch kids play rugby, they are chasing the ball like bees around a honey pot. But Richie was always two phases ahead, predicting the next state of play.”That nose for the chasing the pill stayed with him and like any good openside, McCaw was barracked for walking the law’s tightrope at the breakdown, usually by opposition fans.Adored: The Kiwi fans pay homage to McCaw in his final Test on New Zealand soil at Eden ParkIn the final months of his career, he played as well as any, peeling off a rolling maul against Argentina and thundering over for the crucial winning try off a lineout against South Africa in the Rugby Championship, but he also courted inevitable scrutiny.In the World Cup, the reaction of the crowd at Wembley when he was yellow carded for a ‘dumb foot trip’ on Argentina’s Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, told you everything you needed to know about the respect and fear he had instilled in opponents. He was booed remorselessly while sitting on the naughty chair. As Steve Hansen muttered at the after-match presser, “it was a mark of respect for a player rival teams struggle to cope with”.
TAGS: The Greatest Players In it, he urged “manic aggression”, asking colleagues to pose themselves the question: “Did I put the fear of God into anyone?”Returning from a debilitating back injury to give a Man of the Match display for Munster against Harlequins in the 2013 Heineken Cup quarter-final, O’Connell showed himself ready for a third Lions tour to Australia after heading to New Zealand in 2005 and captaining the 2009 South Africa trip.In the wake of that monstrous effort, he said, “I felt like an amateur today” – a declaration of the burning pride in representing his province.A 31-13 loss to Glasgow Warriors in the Pro12 final last May ended O’Connell’s Munster career with a solitary Celtic League title. Ireland’s Paul O’Connell It is with good reason that Ireland’s Paul O’Connell is considered one of the greatest ever second-rows Major teams: MunsterCountry: Ireland Test span: 2002-2015Ireland caps: 108 (99 starts)Lions caps: 7 (7 starts)Test points: 40 (8T)Superman heads to bed each night wearing Paul O’Connell pyjamas, or so the story goes down in Limerick. Certainly, Clark Kent’s alter ego might be frightened to don anything else.According to Ronan O’Gara, O’Connell’s long-term lieutenant with Munster and Ireland, it is a relentless dedication that characterises the flame-haired lock.“Paul is all about standards,” explains the former fly-half. “I’ve seen what difference one individual can make to an organisation.”O’Connell exudes an intelligent but fiercely authoritative charisma. Inspirational leadership underpins a staggering honours list – two Heineken Cups, a century of Ireland caps, three Lions tours and another trio of Six Nations titles including the 2009 Grand Slam.Standing 6ft 6in tall, physical presence contributes something primal to O’Connell’s aura. One changing room address to his Ireland team-mates prior to the 2007 clash with France has had over a million views on YouTube. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Toulon would be benefiting greatly from the Irishman’s expertise had a hamstring injury, sustained in Ireland’s pool stage match against France at the Rugby World Cup, not hampered his opportunity. He bowed out of international duty after 13 seasons in the Ireland side since a try-scoring debut against Wales.In retirement, O’Connell’s trademark commitment is sure to enrich his provincial side Munster, as he takes on a part-time mentoring role within the club’s academy set up.
Doping in schools rugby: South Africa’s dangerous cocktailThe number of positive drug tests at the U18 Craven Week was three in 2014, five in 2015, four in 2016 and three in 2017. Were you surprised that there were six this year?The number was surprising, considering the educational sessions we have had at the top rugby schools and at Craven Week. We work with the SA Rugby Legends Association, so [former Springbok flank] Corné Krige, for example, presented a session at his alma mater, Paarl Boys’ High. At Craven Week, there was a lot of interest from the boys after the sessions we had with all the teams, so one would have expected the number of positive tests at Craven Week to decrease.You’ve said the big concern of Saids [SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport] is not the six positive tests, but the qualitative natureof them. What do you mean by that?These boys are testing positive for a cocktail of steroids, which is what bodybuilders use. This is not the accidental use of a banned substance from supplements, the drugs are mostly injected through a needle. I’ll give an example of why taking a cocktail is so dangerous. A boy will take a very strong steroid, which is anabolic and androgenic. One of the side-effects is that he will develop breasts, like a woman. To prevent that from happening, he needs to take Tamoxifen, which is used to treat breast cancer. That will ensure the boy’s chest remains flat, but because of what he is now taking, he becomes really aggressive and suffers from insomnia, so he has to take something else. Kids as young as 15 years old have an understanding of a pharmacological diet. It’s not like they are taking these steroids every day. They have to cycle in and cycle out, and the dosages vary.Related: Doping in rugby – an investigationOver 400 boys participated at this year’s Craven Week. Why did Saids test only 122 of them and was the testing random?It’s unreasonable to expect every boy to be tested, because then you’re assuming that testing is the panacea (something that will solve all problems). We don’t have a speed camera every 100m on the road; they are only where speeding is considered to be more likely. Do the cameras deter drivers from speeding? Maybe. Do some people still speed? Yes. Do they get caught? Yes. So you can’t just rely on speed cameras, you also have to encourage behavioural change through campaigns like ‘Speed Kills’. Our testing is based on intelligence information we have received. We may have been told about drug activity at a specific school, so we will target the Craven Week team that has players from that school.While it is random to a certain extent, there is planning that goes into it. If it was completely random and we got six positives from 122 tests, we would be concerned, because what happens if you test 150? It’s also not financially feasible to test everyone at Craven Week. One test costs R2,800 (£157). Then we have to pay the sample collection officers and the courier costs. Two of the positive tests this year required a confirmation test. If you add it up, it comes to about R4,500 (£252) a test. The minute a boy contests the test and pleads not guilty, we go to a tribunal and that’s another R20,000 (£1121), which is what it costs to prosecute him.Typical crowd: Rugby fans watching Craven Week, in 2017Have the boys who tested positive at Craven Week, and pleaded guilty, told you where they got the drugs from?A couple of them are talking. We are doing separate interviews with them and if they give us information that can be substantiated, we will reduce their sentences. Another boy told us he got the drugs from a learner at the school, someone who isn’t involved in sport. In other cases, parents have got the drugs for their kid from a personal trainer at the gym, who isn’t a biokineticist and only has a certificate from a short course they did.Couldn’t a boy who knows he will probably play Craven Week in July simply take steroids earlier in the season, so that by the time he gets to Craven Week the drugs are out of his system?We were told two or three years ago that this was happening, which is why we have partnered with the SA Schools Rugby Association. We will also start testing at schools festivals and big derbies. While we will increase our testing, we are really putting resources into our investigations. We’re going to do more raids and make more arrests (of those who are supplying the drugs). The NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) needs to prosecute more of these cases.Can you randomly test boys during school hours?The Schools Act allows for drug-testing, but sports drug-testing has to be initiated by the headmaster, who can only do this on suspicion.When you look at the trend of positive tests at Craven Week in recent years, can you realistically expect that number to drop next year?I’m hoping it will, but as I said, I’m not concerned by the number, it’s the qualitative nature of the positives. If we have ten positives next year, but they are for substances consumed accidentally in supplements, I will be far less concerned.What would your advice be to schoolboys who take supplements like protein shakes and a fat burner like Phedra Cut?Phedra Cut is an amphetamine, so you will test positive for methylhexanamine. The one with an ‘X’ has testosterone. In 2010 Chiliboy Ralepelle and Bjorn Basson tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine, which was in their protein shake (they were exonerated in 2011 as it had been provided to them by SA Rugby). You can get as much protein by drinking two Steri Stumpies (a flavoured milk drink) as you would from a protein shake and it will cost a quarter of the price. Sports supplements also have a limited effect.Someone using them will plateau very quickly and get frustrated when they start retaining water. They then feel they need to graduate to something stronger. Unfortunately, we are fighting a losing battle against the marketing dollars or rands of the supplement companies. It’s not even a battle.Related: Painkillers in rugby – an investigationWhat message do you give schoolboys at an educational session? Do you try to scare them into not using drugs?Headmasters often ask me why we don’t make our message stronger or scarier. I tell them that the difference between an anti-doping campaign and an anti-tik campaign, for example, is that with the latter you can show photos of how people looked before taking tik (methamphetamine), when they were healthy, and six months later, when their teeth are falling out.If you show before and after photos of steroid users, they will be dik (thick around the waist) before and have a six-pack afterwards. That’s what boys want to look like. You can only scare them by explaining the effects of steroid use below the skin. You can’t see the liver or the coronary arteries of the heart. We tell them the short-term gain isn’t worth the long-term danger. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport CEO Khalid Galant talks to SA RUGBY magazine’s Simon Borchardt about the six positive tests at this year’s U18 Craven Week, putting resources into investigations and why rugby players shouldn’t take supplements. Keep rugby clean: U20 players wearing branded T-shirts back in 2014 ‘There will initially be an increase in testing, which we think will be more of a deterrent. With the testing comes punitive measures. We will still send out regular correspondence about the consequences of being found positive, which are dire. They can ruin a young boy’s career.’This article first appeared in the December 2018 issue of SA Rugby magazine. How effective are these sessions?You can only measure how effective they are by the behavioural change they create. What did the boys know beforehand and what did they know afterwards? Let me give you an example. A couple of years ago we sent an educational officer to one of the top private schools in South Africa with a rich sporting tradition. He called me afterwards and said he felt like someone had punched him in the gut. When he took questions after the session, the kids asked him about ‘half-lifes’ (the period of time the drug is in the body is reduced by half) and when it would be out of their systems. He didn’t know anything about that and also wasn’t aware that if you take a steroid and a diuretic, you won’t test positive. Apparently the kids made fun of him on Twitter later on. Did our educational session work? I don’t know.Do you work closely with SA Rugby, even though it has no direct jurisdiction over schoolboy rugby?We operate independently, but SA Rugby has given us money to do more tests. Rugby is one of the top five most-tested sports in South Africa. SA Rugby also addresses doping in its BokSmart programme. I think the sponsors need to take more responsibility. The sponsors of Craven Week, the Easter festivals and teams could help to pay for more testing, which would help protect their brands.Is part of the problem the fact that South Africa takes schools rugby too seriously, with matches being televised and the top teams ranked?No, I don’t think so. Other countries take schools rugby seriously too. We don’t get a lot of positive tests in professional South African rugby. We do at schools level because some boys believe they have to dope with Craven Week in mind so they can get that professional contract. I think it has more to do with our values as a country and our low public confidence in public entities in general because of corruption. Some people don’t pay their taxes because they don’t think Sars is smart enough to catch them. The same applies with rugby players and Saids. Our value system needs to change.In charge of the union: South African CEO Jurie RouxSA RUGBY CEO JURIE ROUX SAYS …‘SA Rugby is vehemently against the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport. We not only believe they are dangerous to the players’ health, but also that using PEDs is blatant cheating and goes against the ethos of the game of rugby and everything the rugby community stands for and promotes.‘We were the first country to test at schoolboy level and remain one of the few that do. We take this issue very seriously indeed.‘Together with the Saids outreach team, we provide education at all the touch points we have with teams under our jurisdiction: we provide education at the U16 and U18 SA Rugby Youth Weeks, the U16 and U17 Elite Player Development camps and then to all our SA Rugby national teams. We request that Saids test at the various Youth Weeks and all our national teams, and we even provide funding to Saids to assist with their testing programme. From last year we requested that Saids also test at the U16 Grant Khomo Week.‘Our BokSmart website, BokSmart.com, is not only packed with information on the dangers of drugs and supplements in sport, it also advises you on how to eat and drink correctly for a young rugby player.‘We also make it part of the requirements of Youth Week participation that all unions provide anti-doping education to players who are selected for their Youth Week sides.‘SA Rugby has no jurisdiction over schools rugby but we have written directly to headmasters in the past, pointing out the dangers and their duty of care to address this issue. We congratulate those schools that have introduced testing protocols among their learners to tackle the problem at source.’SA SCHOOLS RUGBY ASSOCIATION CHAIRMAN NOEL INGLE SAYS …‘We were extremely disappointed and devastated to be informed that six players had tested positive for steroids at this year’s Craven Week. We’ve got an education programme in place, which every kid who attends Craven Week has to go through, yet there are still some who are prepared to risk their health – physical and psychological – by taking steroids.‘The SA Schools Rugby Association recently drew up a new testing policy to combat steroid use among schoolboy players. Largely, the policy talks about giving permission to test at more than just our official (Youth Weeks) tournaments. So we are trying to get that under our umbrella and then it would take some of the responsibilities away from individual schools. We will also be looking at funding.
Centre points: Virimi Vakatawa scores an early try for France against Tonga (Getty Images) Also make sure you know about the Groups, Warm-ups, Dates, Fixtures, Venues, TV Coverage, Qualified Teams by clicking on the highlighted links.Finally, don’t forget to follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. TAGS: Tonga France book their place in the last eight with a narrow win over the Tongans in Kumamoto 2019 Rugby World Cup: France 23-21 TongaHead-to-headPlayed – 6France wins – 4Tonga wins – 2Did You Know?Sione Kalamafoni and Siale Piutau played in their 11th World Cup match, equalling the Tonga record of Soane Tonga’uiha and Vunga Lilo.France picked a different half-back pairing for the third time in three matches at RWC 2019, with Baptiste Serin and Romain Ntamack selected at nine and ten respectively.Tonga wing Cooper Vuna is the only player at RWC 2019 who has played for two international teams. His first two caps were for Australia.Related: Rugby World Cup FixturesPride: Tonga perform the Sipi Tau at Kumamoto Stadium (Getty Images)In a nutshellThere was no repeat of Tonga’s win in 2011 and this victory means France maintain their record of always making the World Cup quarter-finals – the only Six Nations team to do so – but the islanders gave them a stern test in Kumamoto.Tonga outscored the French three tries to two, put on pressure with their big ball-carriers and powerful scrum, and came away with a losing bonus point.France may have had two tries denied by the TMO and they still got the win, but they will need to improve before facing England next weekend if they want to top Pool C. There were too many periods in this match where their intensity dropped, ill-discipline creeped in and Tonga capitalised.At the start it looked like France might run away with this match as it didn’t take long for France’s Fijians to make an impact. Alivereti Raka flummoxed defenders as he broke down the wing and then offloaded inside for Virimi Vakatawa to score under the posts inside six minutes.Related: What Alivereti Raka brings to FranceWith the conversion and an earlier penalty for Romain Ntamack, France led 10-0 and looked sharp. Their smart kicking game ensured they dominated possession and were able to put on pressure following a couple of errors at Tongan lineouts.Knock-ons didn’t help their cause as they looked to increase their lead, but some quick thinking from Baptiste Serin after a free-kick at a scrum around the half-hour mark did. The scrum-half took a quick tap, fed the ball wide to Raka, the winger kicked ahead and beat Cooper Vuna to the ball to roll over and score.Big cheer: Tonga players celebrate Sonatane Takulua’s try (Getty Images)Tonga hit back before the break, though. With their second scrum penalty, they kicked for touch in France’s 22 and worked their way up to three metres out through the forwards. The pick-and-goes continued as they worked their way close to the line and Sonatane Takulua dummied to pass before diving over to ground the ball on the line. His conversion narrowed the gap to 17-7 at the half-time.And they stepped it up a gear at the start of the second period too. Another scrum penalty led to a lineout in France’s 22 and they made it close to the line before being pinged themselves for holding on.France then went over through Charles Ollivon following a clever lineout play between the No 8 and Camille Chat, but a clear forward pass from Sebastien Vahaamahina was spotted by the TMO and the try ruled out.And then Tonga scored a great counter-attacking try. Pouncing on a loose ball as France attacked close to their 22, Takulua fed James Faiva and the fly-half flicked it on before the ball reached Cooper Vuna, who broke down the wing and then kicked ahead.Maxime Medard let the ball bounce – bad idea when it bounced away from him and fell for Malietoa Hingano. The Tonga centre is not the biggest but he powered over near the posts to the delight of his team-mates. France realised a repeat of 2011 could be on the cards and quickly opted for the posts from a couple of penalties to widen the gap once more.Raka looked like he might get in for a second try in the 66th minute as he chased his own kick down the wing and secured the ball a few metres out from the line, but he was then penalised for holding on.France were denied another try when Damian Penaud crossed after Telusa Veainu had been held up in a maul in the 22 and French defenders had ripped the ball – but it was then ruled out by the TMO for a knock-on in the previous phase.Tonga had the final say when they went for a lineout in the 22 from a penalty and skipper Siale Piutau’s strong run took them towards the line before Leon Fukofuka’s cross-field kick fell perfectly for Zane Kapeli to cross in the 78th minute. Latiume Fosita’s conversion narrowed the gap to two points but France were able to secure possession from the restart to avoid an embarrassing defeat.Given their performance, though, it was little wonder the Tongans were given a standing ovation by the crowd as they toured the stands.Star man Siale Piutau deserves a mention for his 80-minute shift in midfield and particularly his angled run towards the line that led to Zane Kapeli’s late try, but Alivereti Raka made the difference in this match. It was his try and assist that built the first-half lead and ultimately delivered the win. He is so difficult to stop with ball in hand.Hard runner: Alivereti Raka makes ground for France (Getty Images)Related: Rugby World Cup TV CoverageThe ReactionFrance coach Jacques Brunel: “We wanted to get a bigger score but it was difficult against this opponent because of our handling errors. Therefore I guess we need to go back to basics and get more territory.”Tonga coach Toutai Kefu: “We didn’t start the game as well as we thought we would, which was very similar to last week. At half-time the boys realised even though we had played poorly, we were still in the game and we had 40 minutes to turn that around.“Mentally we had a mindset change in the second half. We’re finishing well, but it’s definitely an issue for us (starting slowly). I thought we were the physically poorer team in the first half.”The TeamsFrance: Maxime Medard; Damian Penaud, Virimi Vakatawa (Pierre-Louis Barassi 67), Sofiane Guitoune, Alivereti Raka; Romain Ntamack (Camille Lopez 67), Baptiste Serin (Antoine Dupont 54); Jefferson Poirot (captain, Cyril Baille 53), Camille Chat (Guilhem Guirado 60), Rabah Slimani (Emerick Setiano 53), Paul Gabrillagues, Sebastien Vahaamahina (Bernard Le Roux 53), Wenceslas Lauret, Charles Ollivon, Gregory Alldritt (Yacouba Camara 62).Tries: Vakatawa 6, Raka 32. Cons: Ntamack 2. Pens: Ntamack 3.Tonga: Telusa Veainu; Cooper Vuna, Malietoa Hingano, Siale Piutau (captain), David Halaifonua (Atieli Pakalani 67); James Faiva (Latiume Fosita 67), Sonatane Takulua (Leon Fukofuka 60); Siegfried Fisiihoi (Vunipola Fifita 65), Paula Ngauamo (Sosefo Sakalia 57-62), Ma’afu Fia (Siua Halanukonuka h-t), Sam Lousi (Daniel Faleafa 72), Leva Fifita (Daniel Faleafa 61-70), Sione Kalamafoni, Zane Kapeli, Maama Vaipulu (Nasi Manu 62).Tries: Takulua 39, Hingano 47, Kapeli 78. Cons: Takulua 2, Fosita.Follow our Rugby World Cup homepage which we update regularly with news and features.
Expand Pivotal: South Africa play the All Blacks and the winner will likely decide the group winner in 2019 (Getty Images)South Africa Rugby World Cup SquadRassie Erasmus has named his World Cup squad below;Forwards (17):Schalk BritsLood de JagerPieter-Steph du ToitEben EtzebethSteven KitshoffVincent KochSiya KolisiFrancois LouwFrans MalherbeMalcolm MarxBongi MbonambiFranco MostertTendai MtawariraTrevor Nyakane (replaced by Thomas du Toit on Monday 23 September after suffering a torn calf)Kwagga SmithRG SnymanDuane VermeuelenBacks (14):Lukhanyo AmDamian de AllendeFaf de KlerkWarrick GelantElton JantjiesHerschel JantjiesCheslin KolbeJesse Kriel (replaced by Damian Willemse after picking up a hamstring injury)Willie le RouxMakazole MapimpiSbu NkosiHandre PollardCobus ReinachFrans SteynRelated: 2019 Rugby World Cup FixturesPrevious World Cup Results and RecordSouth Africa’s Rugby World Cup Record: P36 W30 D0 L61995 Champions1999 Third2003 Quarter-finals2007 Champions2011 Quarter-finals2015 Third2019 ChampionsFollow our Rugby World Cup homepage which we update regularly with news and features. Namibia Rugby World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide Related: 2019 Rugby World Cup GroupsSouth Africa Rugby World Cup Kit Italy Rugby World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide Namibia booked their place once again at the… Canada Rugby World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide New Zealand Rugby World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide The last team to qualify for the tournament,… Namibia Rugby World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide Winners of the past two World Cups, the… South Africa Rugby World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, GuideSouth Africa put their years of struggle behind them at the 2019 Rugby World Cup after winning against England in the final.How They QualifiedSouth Africa were one of of the 12 automatic qualifiers for the 2019 tournament.Key PlayersSiya Kolisi, South Africa’s first-ever black captain, and hooker Malcolm Marx are world-class forwards, while Wasps’ Willie le Roux is a sublime playmaker. Faf de Klerk injects energy at nine and is considered by many to be the best in the world.Quality: Kolisi (C), Marx (L), and De Klerk (far right) are key to the Springboks success (Getty Images)The Coach – Rassie ErasmusErasmus has the gig for the next two World Cups after being spirited away from Munster. The ex-Boks flanker took over from Allister Coetzee, who paid the price for a 44% win record.Improving: Rassie Erasmus is making progress with the Springboks (Getty Images)Major Work-onsEarly signs during his tenure suggested a paucity of midfield talent, but they have improved in 2019. Handre Pollard looks good at fly-half but his back-up, Elton Jantjies, has been found wanting in pressure matches.South Africa Rugby World Cup Warm-upsSaturday 20 July 2019: South Africa 35-17 AustraliaSaturday 27 July 2019: New Zealand 16-16 South AfricaSaturday 10 August 2019: Argentina 13-46 South AfricaSaturday 17 August 2019: South Africa 24-18 ArgentinaFriday 6 September 2019: Japan 7-41 South AfricaRelated: 2019 Rugby World Cup Warm-upsSouth Africa Rugby World Cup GroupSouth Africa are in Group B alongside New Zealand, Italy, Namibia and Canada. Collapse Four years on from their shock loss to Japan, South Africa collected their third world title. Italy Rugby World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide In a tough group, Italy were denied chance… Expand Expand New Zealand Rugby World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Canada Rugby World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide South Africa Rugby World Cup FixturesSat 21 Sep New Zealand 23-13 South Africa (Yokohama) Match reportSat 28 Sep South Africa 57-3 Namibia (Toyota) Match ReportFri 4 Oct South Africa 49-3 Italy (Shizuoka) Match ReportTue 8 Oct South Africa 66-7 Canada (Kobe) Match ReportSun 20 Oct QF4 Japan 3-26 South Africa (Tokyo) Match ReportSun 27 Oct SF2 Wales 16-19 South Africa (Yokohama) Match ReportSat 2 Nov RWC 2019 Final England 12-32 South Africa (Yokohama) Match Report Also make sure you know about the Groups, Warm-ups, Dates, Fixtures, Venues, TV Coverage, Qualified Teams by clicking on the highlighted links.Finally, don’t forget to follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS And just like that, @FranceRugby have the first score of the game!Charles Ollivon runs in the try after some slick play from the French ensemble #GuinnessSixNations #IREvFRA pic.twitter.com/ShoWQnS6Iv— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) February 14, 2021How about Gael Fickou dealing with that bounce pass? It’s one of those things that always appears to catch defences off-guard, when the ball skips off the turf. And then France captain Charles Ollivon gallops away from the cover. But before all that there was a gallery of offloads from France’s stars. And look who was in the middle for all the action – you guessed it, scrum-half Antoine Dupont. The nine is on fire at the moment and the try was simply borne from beautiful stuff.A word for Fickou too. Before this score, he made a telling intervention.James Lowe thinks he has scored against France (Getty Images)With Ireland wing James Lowe getting the ball wide-out (and thumping through contact out there too) he thought he had squeezed in for a score. But Fickou had motored over in cover as a final tackle was put in and pushed Lowe’s legs towards touch.The wing’s foot grazed touch, according to the Television Match Official (TM) and it was ruled ‘no try.’ Shortly after, France got the try you can see above. The centre will be very pleased with his first-half performance at the Aviva Stadium. Despite having a player in the bin, France have a sensational score Charles Ollivon scores a try against Ireland (Inpho) Watch: 14-man France score sublime try against IrelandFrance have lit up these Six Nations with their try-scoring antics and they were at it again against Ireland. Despite having burly lock Bernard le Roux in the sin-bin for tripping Irish wing Keith Earls, they came out of the ten-minute period with 14 menand were actually seven points better off – and it was all due to this sublime score. Can’t get to the shops? You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 Rector Hopkinsville, KY Youth Minister Lorton, VA Rector Bath, NC Jerusalem diocese provides health, education services to Palestinians Ministries face challenges An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA Rector Washington, DC Curate Diocese of Nebraska Submit a Press Release Rector Shreveport, LA Advocacy Peace & Justice, Cathedral Dean Boise, ID Rector Martinsville, VA January 17, 2013 at 2:12 pm The presence of the Presiding Bishop’s visit in Holy Land at Christmas was truly a gift to the people served by the Diocese of Jerusalem. We are inspired through the ENS article by the excellent work that is being done in its hospitals, clinics and educational institutions. What better way to turn inspiration into a tangible gift than by making a donation through the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem http://www.afedj.org . As we read, the needs are great whether they be at the Princess Basma Center in East Jerusalem or St. Luke’s Hospital in Nablus; but with our help each challenge can be met. The Church Investment Group Commends the Taskforce on the Theology of Money on its report, The Theology of Money and Investing as Doing Theology Church Investment Group Comments (4) Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC Submit an Event Listing Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 TryTank Experimental Lab and York St. John University of England Launch Survey to Study the Impact of Covid-19 on the Episcopal Church TryTank Experimental Lab Carol Myers says: Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Hires Reverend Kevin W. VanHook, II as Executive Director Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Rector Tampa, FL January 17, 2013 at 12:03 pm The Presiding Bishop’s visit brings attention to this work at a critical time. The question is, what do we, as a caring Christian community, do about this? With all the need around the world, where does the Holy Land fit into our outreach? The Christian population in the region is shrinking, some say withering. The Episcopal Church offers not only services, but the principles of tolerance and respect for differences to all who enter. We cannot abandon the work of Christ in the place where he walked. Support for the Holy Land should be at the core of each parish’s and individual’s commitment. Pray for peace in the Holy Land and please support the work of the Diocese. The American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem is ready and eager to provide more information on the institutions, pilgrimages and needs. http://www.afedj.org Israel-Palestine, Rector Collierville, TN Rector Albany, NY January 17, 2013 at 7:31 pm Jesus met peoples needs no matter their religion. There is a terrible need in Palestine due to the injustice perpetrated by the Israeli government. Integral to Christianity is the reconciliation of all people to God. Ministering to the needs of all people, no matter who they are, or their religion, will lead to understanding, community, and the reconciliation of all people to God. Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books Middle East Featured Jobs & Calls The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group Rector Belleville, IL Virtual Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency Course Online Course Aug. 9-13 A woman and her son receive care at the Princess Basma Center in East Jerusalem. The center operates a through the Women’s Empowerment Program to teach women how to care for their disabled children. ENS Photo/Lynette Wilson[Episcopal News Service] For every one physically or developmentally disabled child treated at the Princess Basma Center for Disabled Children in East Jerusalem, another 20 are treated at intermediate or local centers throughout the West Bank.“We are the only center of excellence that provides comprehensive rehab in Palestine; we compete with others in the Arab World and no one is getting our results,” said Maha Yasmineh, Princess Basma’s acting chief executive officer. “We’ve reached a level we have to keep up, no one else can do it.”In 2005, the Princess Basma Center was recognized for its high-quality, innovative service to disabled children and their families. The center was opened in 1965 and in 1987 it was the first school to integrate disabled children into mainstream classrooms.“It’s been such a success we’re becoming mentors to other schools,” said Yasmineh, adding that many of the school’s disabled graduates have gone on to university.[ooyala code=”loaWRnODp6w15sus9TugrvJU7_owiRjD”]School was not in session and the hallways quiet except for a few mothers and their children when Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori visited Princess Basma in late December during a 12-day trip to Israel and the Palestinian Territories over Christmas and New Year.The presiding bishop visited the diocese at the invitation of Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem Suheil Dawani.“The Diocese of Jerusalem has a long and important relationship with the American Episcopal Church, your support to this diocese has been steadfast and generous,” said Dawani, to Jefferts Schori, during the visit.During her visit to Princess Basma, which was named for the princess of Jordan who inaugurated the center in the ‘60s, the presiding bishop learned about the Mother’s Empowerment Program and some of the challenges the center is facing.Each year some 250 to 300 mothers and their children spend between two and four weeks living at the center. The children receive comprehensive rehabilitation and the mothers learn to care for their children, many of whom suffer congenital anomalies.“A lot of the mothers don’t know anything about the disability,” said Dr. Waddah Malhees, the medical director of the rehabilitation program. “We teach them how to care for their children, and follow up with rehab.”(In 2012, Malhees added, Princess Basma became the first center to treat autistic Palestinian children, and is the only center providing care for autistic children and training for their families.)More recently, however, because of a budget shortfall the mothers and children must leave the center on Thursday evenings to return on Saturdays, meaning they must pay for transportation costs and navigate check points between Jerusalem and their homes in the West Bank, the staff said.Eighty-seven percent of the center’s budget is generated by service fees and school fees. The 13 percent budget deficit forecast for 2013, represents about $268,000, Yasmineh said.“Thirteen percent is a lot of money,” she said. “We’re seeing children in need in the Palestinian Territories, and if we don’t do it, no one will do it.”The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem operates 35 health and education institutions across five countries and the Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank and also in Gaza, where its Ahli Arab Hospital is one of just three Christian-run institutions.A woman and her baby, who suffers from a congenital anomaly, seek care at the Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza. ENS Photo/Lynette WilsonClick here for a separate story on the Gaza hospital.“These institutions carry a wonderful and an awesome ministry in a place of multi-faith and multi-ethnic backgrounds and it is so vital for the church to continue offering these services because these institutions as well as the churches, they provide a moderate and very important role in society,” said the Very Rev. Hosam Naoum, dean of St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem, in a Jan. 1 interview in the courtyard of St. George’s guesthouse.“We exist to build up a community of tolerance, reconciliation and a community that has mutual understanding of each other’s faith and culture and tradition,” Naoum added. “These institutions, as well as the parish ministry, provide healthy, fertile ground for future and potential leaders of the community. And people who are well-educated, people who are healthy in their relationships. And this is what we dream of really, of establishing a community that enables both Jews and Palestinians to live side by side and to create a society where everyone matters.”Schools are the majority of the diocesan institutions, and St. John’s School in Haifa has educated generations of Muslim, Jewish and Christian children. Each morning the 575 students, 50 percent of them Muslim, gather in morning assembly and school is recognized not only for its high-quality education (scientific research is introduced in kindergarten) but for its “peace” education.“We are doing a wonderful job, but [we] don’t evangelize,” said Wajeeh Awad, who has served the school for 52 years, during a luncheon in Haifa in late December. Awad is the former principal and now serves on the school’s board of directors.A 40-bed elder care and community center is under construction on the site of St. Peter’s Church in Birzeit, a suburb of Ramallah. The church’s plan is to lease space on the ground level to a commmercial tenant. ENS Photo/Lynette WilsonIn addition to Princess Basma, the hospital in Gaza and the school in Haifa, the presiding bishop also visited St. Luke’s Hospital in Nablus; a new diabetes clinic set to open soon on the site of St. Andrew’s Church in Ramallah; and the construction site of a new 40-bed elder care and community center on the site of St. Peter’s Church in Birzeit, a suburb of Ramallah.Reflecting on the visits, the presiding bishop said, “It’s apparent that the Christians are the primary bridge builders, and see their ministry as serving all of God’s people, all of Abraham’s children.“The work that the Diocese of Jerusalem is doing is profoundly important.”In the Palestinian Territories, 10 to 15 percent of the population suffers from diabetes, with high levels of stress thought to be a factor, in contrast to three percent worldwide, said Dr. Hisham Nassar, who serves as a health care consultant to the diocese. Nassar was speaking during a luncheon at St. Andrew’s Church in Ramallah in late December.The diabetes clinic located at the church will be open six days a week and expects to serve between 300 and 400 people a month. The clinic also will host monthly information sessions, said Dawani, during a late December tour of the state-of-the-art clinic.A nurse at St. Luke’s Hospital in Nablus gives a tour of the hospital’s neonatal unit. An average of 180 babies are born each month at the in the hospital in the West Bank. ENS Photo/Lynette WilsonAt St. Luke’s Hospital in Nablus, nine midwives deliver an average of 180 babies a month. If a mother has a normal delivery, her hospital stay is six hours. The hospital also has a neonatal intensive care unit for complicated cases.With 150 employees, the 60-bed medical and surgical hospital serves annually in Nablus and its surrounding villages more than 70,000 patients “regardless of race or social status.”However, a CT scan, broken since 2010, sits idle on the hospital’s lower level, which poses a problem for the hospital that operates the only trauma center in the northern West Bank, an area with a population of 500,000 for which it also serves as a referral center for all neurosurgery cases.Dr. Walid Kerry, the general manager of St. Luke’s Hospital in Nablus, Bishop James Magness and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori during a recent visit to the hospital. ENS Photo/Lynette Wilson“Here we’ve got people providing medical care at a low cost, serving everyone who walks through the door. How are they doing neurology and cardiology [without a functioning CT scan]? Seeing that this machine doesn’t work really inspired me [to help],” said Bishop James Magness, the Episcopal Church’s bishop suffragan for federal ministries, following a visit to the hospital.“Their level of commitment is inspiring and really makes me want to help. Seeing the schools and hospitals and how they work and bring people together.”Betty Dagher Majaj, the longtime director of the Princess Basma Center for Disabled Children in East Jerusalem, explains to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and her staff that the center’s hydrotherapy pool remains empty because the center cannot afford to keep it chlorinated and heated. From left, Alex Baumgarten, director of the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations, the presiding bishop, Dr. Waddah Malhees, the center’s rehabilitation medical director, Majaj, and the Rev. Canon Bob Edmunds, the Episcopal Church’s Middle East global partnerships officer. ENS Photo/Lynette WilsonThe various diocesan ministries face many challenges, some a result of the world-wide economic crisis, some the consequence of politics in Israel and Palestine. But the budget shortfall at Princess Basma, which has also led to 12 staff members losing their jobs, and which may force the closure of the center’s orthopedics workshop; the broken CT scan at St. Luke’s; and the Gaza hospital’s transition after losing financial support from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency haven’t affected the institution’s ability to provide quality care for patients.“The place where you see hope is in the medical field,” said the Rev. Canon Robert Edmunds, the Episcopal Church’s Middle East global partnerships officer, in an interview with ENS in Jerusalem. “To treat whomever comes through the door. And the level of care offered is the level of care that they can provide. They all do the best with what they’ve got.”— Lynette Wilson is an editor/reporter for Episcopal News Service. Director of Music Morristown, NJ AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis Comments are closed. Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET By Lynette WilsonPosted Jan 16, 2013 Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Anne Lynn says: Episcopal Church releases new prayer book translations into Spanish and French, solicits feedback Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MI Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest Tags Submit a Job Listing Course Director Jerusalem, Israel Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA Featured Events In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 January 16, 2013 at 5:49 pm This vital, important work is supported by the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem (AFEDJ), http://www.afedj.org/. The need is, perhaps, greater now than ever with the recent loss of other financial support. Do visit AFEDJ’s site and help support our Middle East partners. An Evening with Aliya Cycon Playing the Oud Lancaster, PA (and streaming online) July 3 @ 7 p.m. ET Rector Pittsburgh, PA John D. Andrews says: The Rev. Deborah Dresser says: Rector Smithfield, NC Press Release Service Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ Associate Rector Columbus, GA Rector Knoxville, TN