StevieS

USA goes professional


Written by Stephen Smith (StevieS)

Posted in :Original Content on 16 Apr 2015 at 09:37
Tagged with : , , ,

Hi Sharks fans. It seems that the sleeping giant that is USA Rugby is finally waking up.

I’m sure most of you would have watched the All Blacks take on the USA Eagles in Chicago and wouldn’t have been too surprised at the drubbing handed out to the Eagles. What most fans aren’t aware of is the following:

· Rugby is the fastest growing team sport in the USA, this despite having had no professional league;
· There are approximately two million children now playing tag-touch in the USA. Tag-touch is seen as the right way to introduce youngsters to rugby and to teach them the correct skills;
· The USA is starting to plough more resources into rugby, and even attempted to lure Sir Gordon Tietjens from the New Zealand 7’s setup, all in a bid to win Olympic gold; and
· The USA is going to get its first professional league in 2016.

Details are still sketchy at this stage as to how many teams will comprise the league, but it’s a step in the right direction. The full details are available here, but the long and the short of it is that Leicester Tigers will be playing a Rough Riders team comprising former NFL players, college football players and collegiate, club and international rugby players on 08 August and marks the formation of the National Rugby Football League. The NRFL is set to kick off in 2016.

This can only be good news for the game of rugby and will certainly add some spice and interest to the global game with the USA keen to have themselves recognised as a major force in the world game in the not too distant future.


66 Comments

  • Amazing news, I have wanted this to happen for so long.

    Good luck to them! Watch out the rest of the world in a few years.

  • Comment 1, posted at 16.04.15 09:57:09 by Seth101 Reply
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    Nostraseth
     
  • @Seth101 (Comment 1) : Also SA franchises really better up their pay now, another contender is about to step in the ring and poach our talent.

  • Comment 2, posted at 16.04.15 10:01:59 by Seth101 Reply
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  • I see they have poached a couple of former Hilton Boys, I don’t know their pedigree though. Is this mostly due to Matt Hawkins involvement?

  • Comment 3, posted at 16.04.15 10:04:50 by durbsguy Reply

    durbsguy
     
  • U,S.A are the current 2x Olympic Rugby Champions having won gold the last two times rugby was played at the olympics in 1920 and1924.[I think]

  • Comment 4, posted at 16.04.15 10:08:46 by The hound Reply
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  • If I am not mistaken the US is still the reigning Olympic rugby champions.

  • Comment 5, posted at 16.04.15 10:09:57 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @Seth101 (Comment 2) : Absolutely, one more market where talented youngers can go ply their trade and with their excellent universities this may be a very lucrative one too.

    Morne posted a while ago (paraphrasing here) that instead of trying to keep hundreds of rugby players in South Africa, SARU should identify and focus their efforts on only a core group of SA players. Seems that in the long run this is probably now our most viable option to keep SA a rugby powerhouse.

  • Comment 6, posted at 16.04.15 10:11:09 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 4) : @Bokhoring (Comment 5) : Sounds correct, I remember reading that a while back.

  • Comment 7, posted at 16.04.15 10:13:32 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @durbsguy (Comment 3) : Who are the Hilton boys?

    @Seth101 (Comment 1) : I’ve been waiting for it for years. Going to make rugby very interesting.

    @The hound (Comment 4) : @Bokhoring (Comment 5) : That’s correct. They selected a club team to represent the USA. I believe they beat France in the final?

  • Comment 8, posted at 16.04.15 10:13:46 by StevieS Reply
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  • Andre Snyman is coaching a team there in the states. Says rugby struggles to compete with the mainstream sports but it is slowly growing. Andre is a very good coach so those guys will have good tutoring. They certainly have the numbers as well as possible sponsorship deals etc. Altho now just another avenue for our players to go and earn sum dollars instead of rands…

  • Comment 9, posted at 16.04.15 10:15:52 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonK
     
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 5) : Correct, however in 1920 only USA, France and in 1924 only USA, France and Romania participated, USA only ever player 3 games in total to win Gold twice and still be the Champions.

  • Comment 10, posted at 16.04.15 10:16:43 by Uli Boelie Reply
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  • I said this 2 years ago, I will say it again, by RWC 2019 the fifteens game will be under serious threat from the Sevens code.

  • Comment 11, posted at 16.04.15 10:16:46 by Morné Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 9) : I wonder who could be the Rough Riders sponsor…. 😳

  • Comment 12, posted at 16.04.15 10:22:44 by Uli Boelie Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 11) : As a global showpiece….yes

    But the traditional top tier nations will still prefer 15’s to 7’s.

    What I enjoy about 7’s is, there are far less issues regarding officiating.

  • Comment 13, posted at 16.04.15 10:24:15 by FireTheLooser Reply

     
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 13) :

    It won’t be up to the top tier nations mate. It would be up to the commercial sponsors who decides where to pump their money into.

  • Comment 14, posted at 16.04.15 10:27:10 by Morné Reply
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  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 13) : And the tries come thick and fast. I know you’re a Sharks fan so you forgotten how amazing a beautifully worked try can be but don’t forget about the those! 😈

  • Comment 15, posted at 16.04.15 10:29:21 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 14) : Much more T.V friendly,and for the game to take off in the States it needs to be on T.V
    A7’s tournament can be completed in a weekend.
    I agree totally with your prediction.

  • Comment 16, posted at 16.04.15 10:31:57 by The hound Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 16) :

    Get your kids to play Sevens lads!

  • Comment 17, posted at 16.04.15 10:33:53 by Morné Reply
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    Morné
     
  • @Morné (Comment 14) : From a spectator point of view, top tier nations will stick to 15’s, and enjoy 7’s as an hors dóeuvre.

    @vanmartin (Comment 15) : Don’t forget the defense in 7’s, which is another thing us Sharks fans have been starved of 😉

  • Comment 18, posted at 16.04.15 10:37:17 by FireTheLooser Reply

     
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 18) : Take a look at cricket,where is the growth,the crowds and the sponsors,at the shortened end of the game,the T.V friendly version.

  • Comment 19, posted at 16.04.15 10:40:07 by The hound Reply
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  • Fastest growing is a matter of relevance. the lions are the most improved side, but only because the completely sucked for so very very long that any improvement is seen as a radical shift. So the fastest growing just means they have doubled their rugby playing population from 30 to 60??

  • Comment 20, posted at 16.04.15 10:46:21 by coolfusion Reply

    coolfusion
     
  • @The hound (Comment 19) : My point is, I can’t see 7’s unseating the Six Nations in Europe…

    …and I can’t see 7’s unseating Rugby Championship in Southern Hemisphere…

    …and I can’t see 7’s unseating the RWC.

  • Comment 21, posted at 16.04.15 10:49:58 by FireTheLooser Reply

     
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 18) :

    If that was the case, I would still see a lot more proper, test cricket on my TV rather than this bullshit pajama version. 😉

  • Comment 22, posted at 16.04.15 10:51:34 by Morné Reply
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  • @durbsguy (Comment 3) : Which Hilton boys? I’ll tell you if they’re any good 😛

  • Comment 23, posted at 16.04.15 10:52:15 by Seth101 Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 6) : I agree somewhat, I have never had a problem with foreign teams poaching our talent. It’s bot their fault we don’t know how to compete in a global market.

  • Comment 24, posted at 16.04.15 10:53:25 by Seth101 Reply
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  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 21) :

    Don’t tell anyone, but there are already rumours of a Sevens/Tens type Super Rugby/4N tournament being developed for consideration…

    You won’t replace the RWC, just like T20 will never replace the Cricket 50-over RWC.

    The one (Sevens World Cup) will just be more popular and generate (receive) more money… People (including players), goes where the money is.

  • Comment 25, posted at 16.04.15 10:54:35 by Morné Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 19) : A 80 minute rugby match is as TV friendly as a 90 minute football match.

    I still think there is much more of a difference between a five day test and a T20 game for a cricket novice, than a 15’s vs 7’s rugby game.

    However the growth in players and viewers is definitely higher in the 7s game. The Olympic games should also add a lot to 7’s exposure.

  • Comment 26, posted at 16.04.15 10:57:02 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 22) : With cricket you have the marathon, the long distance and the sprint. – I enjoy the marathon because my athlete seems to be winning on more occasions than not. (referring to the Proteas, off course)

    Most people prefer the sprint, as the Marathon and long distance takes too long.

    Rugby you have the 800m, and the 100m – both entertaining, 100m high octane but doesn’t last very long, 800m more suspense and lasts longer (but not too long, and more technical aspects to enjoy).

  • Comment 27, posted at 16.04.15 11:00:19 by FireTheLooser Reply

     
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 21) : Unfortunately in a professional era,sponsors put there money where the viewers are,like to compare the numbers watching the IPL in Asia,with the numbers watching England play Test cricket against the Windies.
    I would be keen to see world wide T.V viewership figures on the Hong Kong 7’s,related to last years Tri nation,Super 15 or 6 Nations final.

  • Comment 28, posted at 16.04.15 11:00:53 by The hound Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 25) : That just means there will be more money for the fatties playing the 15 man game. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 29, posted at 16.04.15 11:01:18 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 26) : Now a 7’s style soccer game would be far more palatable than 90mins. of that boring rubbish. 😉

  • Comment 30, posted at 16.04.15 11:02:50 by FireTheLooser Reply

     
  • @Seth101 (Comment 23) : Christian Wiessing and Baba Adejuyigbe

  • Comment 31, posted at 16.04.15 11:03:23 by durbsguy Reply

    durbsguy
     
  • @Morné (Comment 25) : I would love a big 10s tournament. I think 10s might be the future. Combo between 15s and 7s.

  • Comment 32, posted at 16.04.15 11:04:51 by Southern_Shark Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 29) : I’d also like to know the viewership numbers…could make for interesting revelations.

  • Comment 33, posted at 16.04.15 11:06:31 by FireTheLooser Reply

     
  • Sevens is not rugby, surely. Rugby has a scrum that has 8 men that druk the hell out of each other. Sevens is fun, sort of, but its not really serious. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 34, posted at 16.04.15 11:11:34 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • I think Morné is right and in a country like the US, where they already have traditional-length sports like Gridiron, Soccer, Baseball and Basketball, the chance of 7’s rugby getting preferential financial treatment seems legit.

    The fact that their Sevens side regularly gets to play against the best, have already beaten some top sides and showing massive improvement will draw more supporters and money to the format, especially after the Olympics.

  • Comment 35, posted at 16.04.15 11:18:08 by Spirit of Rugby Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 34) : And how often do you see a bit of “hows your mother” / argy-bargy in sevens?

  • Comment 36, posted at 16.04.15 11:18:50 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @durbsguy (Comment 31) : Both very good, and yea Wiessing has already played for USA U20, not sure about Baba.

  • Comment 37, posted at 16.04.15 11:19:23 by Seth101 Reply
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  • @Uli Boelie (Comment 12) : I dunno…but bet the Cheerleaders are quality

  • Comment 38, posted at 16.04.15 11:23:31 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonK
     
  • @durbsguy (Comment 31) :
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIjq3tJ4IK8

    I found a highlights video of Baba :mrgreen:

  • Comment 39, posted at 16.04.15 11:28:08 by Seth101 Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 36) : Exactly, sevens is like a light version of Bud Light. No ooomph and no expectation of it either.

  • Comment 40, posted at 16.04.15 11:30:22 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Spirit of Rugby (Comment 35) : I think the biggest difference is that to a complete novice,7’s is an uncomplicated easy to understand game,
    Our game on the other hand gets more and more complicated every week,most International rugby referees don’t understand the game.
    Try sitting next to my wife evey week,and explain why the ref just blew that scrum up,and awarded the penalty to them,when the last time I explained it , he gave the penalty to us.

  • Comment 41, posted at 16.04.15 11:30:47 by The hound Reply
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  • The problem with 7s in the USA compared to other sports is that because the 7s game is so short there is no space for adverts inbetween them unlike a baseball, gridiron or basketball game that has many stoppages. A 15 a side game would offer these stoppages for advert slots. Having said that 7s is definitely growing and very quickly. Id love to see a 7s Currie Cup in this country, games could be curtain raiser to the 15man game between the same sides

  • Comment 42, posted at 16.04.15 11:31:15 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonK
     
  • Sorry to say I have zero interest in sevens and if that truly is the future of the game, well, I guess gardening and choir singing will get a bigger slice of my weekly attention.

  • Comment 43, posted at 16.04.15 11:32:04 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 43) : What about London 7s only a couple of weeks to go?

  • Comment 44, posted at 16.04.15 11:34:58 by durbsguy Reply

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  • @durbsguy (Comment 44) : I’ll be at home watching a Sharks match on TV

  • Comment 45, posted at 16.04.15 11:36:29 by robdylan Reply
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  • Long overdue. At least 15 years now before the US can be a big name in Rugby in my opinion.

  • Comment 46, posted at 16.04.15 11:37:55 by Ben Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 43) : Mayb u can sing the anthem before the games then?

  • Comment 47, posted at 16.04.15 11:54:00 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 43) : I used to have exactly the same sentiments,but this current Blitzbok side has switched my lights on.
    They are an incredibly exciting side to watch,and are a seriously integrated team.Equal amounts of Black,white and coloured,but not forced together,just the best blend of each,
    Probably the best thing they have going for them is that they are a team,are probably the only example of what this country could be if we all worked to a common cause.
    I say this as Durban and Joburgh are currently burning.

  • Comment 48, posted at 16.04.15 11:56:47 by The hound Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 47) : 😀

  • Comment 49, posted at 16.04.15 12:07:23 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 48) : Amen to that!

    They are disciplined and committed to each other and to the jersey.

    @Ben (Comment 46) : Don’t be surprised if it’s sooner Ben. The lure of Olympic Gold will ensure more athletes turn to rugby and this will filter to the 15’s side too. They will approach it scientifically and have a large population to choose from. Going to be interesting times.

  • Comment 50, posted at 16.04.15 12:46:59 by StevieS Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 41) : I feel your pain. The current state of the game is ridiculously complicated to officiate and even worse to try and explain to people.

    All the crap started when they banned rucking and is one of the reasons players get frustrated and take the law into their own hands (feet).

    For starters, none of the Chiefs or Crusaders players would have had their heads kicked in, because they would not have been anywhere near our side of the ruck, slowing down ball and holding onto players.

  • Comment 51, posted at 16.04.15 15:33:26 by Spirit of Rugby Reply
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  • @StevieS (Comment 50) : Money makes the world go round. The more money they pump into it, the faster it will grow. The Olympic dream alone will not be enough. Olympians do not get paid a lot. NFL players earn very big paychecks.

  • Comment 52, posted at 16.04.15 15:51:06 by Ben Reply
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  • Good news for us in the USA however this announcement comes with a lot of questions mainly because it is not a USA rugby initiated league and it is uncertain who the players are or the coach or the individuals who are starting this league. Being in the top 3 clubs in the USA one would think that my player’s would have been approached including the 3 national player’s in my team. I am as interested as many of you to see how this evolves and hope it materializes. Christian Wiessing (former Hilton college) plays for our club and is an American. He is at college here in Colorado and chose to play at the Glendale Raptors. I believe the other Hilton player is studying at Cornell and is playing football but got a spot in the USA U20 team who recently played Canada. Wiessing captained U20 team. He is an impressive player with a bright future in rugby here in the USA.

  • Comment 53, posted at 16.04.15 16:07:57 by Snys13 Reply

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  • @Snys13 (Comment 53) : Great to hear from you André! Hope you can share more with us in the future as all of this unfolds. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 54, posted at 16.04.15 16:15:29 by Ben Reply
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  • Sure will, I am as interested as y’all!

  • Comment 55, posted at 16.04.15 16:27:16 by Snys13 Reply

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  • @Snys13 (Comment 53) : Welcome coach! Glad to have your input on the matter. My immediate thought when reading the article is that you would somehow be involved or at least consulted. Do you have any suspicions regarding who initiated the league if it wasn’t USA rugby?

  • Comment 56, posted at 16.04.15 16:29:13 by vanmartin Reply
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  • Sounds like a group from the Eastern shores of USA. Have not heard of their name before but have been hearing whispers and rumors for a few months about this league. I hope it comes to fruition. Due to the size of this country, often the western region(where I am) are unfamiliar with what is taking place in the Eastern regions and vice versa. I am just trying to keep my team focused towards the PAcific Rugby Premiership final which we are 7 points away from securing a spot in. So will pay more attention to this story once our season is done. But have to say the thrust of USA rugby is 7s currently.

  • Comment 57, posted at 16.04.15 16:39:26 by Snys13 Reply

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  • @Snys13 (Comment 57) : Good luck with your team André. Hope you guys get a spot, sure you will make it happen.

  • Comment 58, posted at 16.04.15 16:49:28 by Ben Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 11) : as much as I don’t want it to be that way I would tend to agree with you ,inthe long term 7’s is going to take over

  • Comment 59, posted at 16.04.15 19:42:32 by benji Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 48) : yes and they have serious skills as well

  • Comment 60, posted at 16.04.15 19:54:37 by benji Reply
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  • I disagree with the overriding sentiment. Whilst 7s viewership will undoubtedly increase, it will never knock the 15 game from top spot. the same thing was predicted about 50 over cricket and then 20 over cricket – it was supposed to be the death of test cricket… and look how wrong that turned out to be! One thing is true, it’s easier for emerging nations to compete in the 7s.

    But let’s all be honest here… 7s rugby is crap.

  • Comment 61, posted at 17.04.15 05:55:50 by Feather Reply

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  • @Snys13 (Comment 57) : Great to have your views Coach. Really hoping you’ll be involved in some capacity in the new league. Very surprising that none of your guys or you have been approached.

    Good luck with the rest of your season. Please let us know how it goes.

  • Comment 62, posted at 17.04.15 08:32:11 by StevieS Reply
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    StevieS
     
  • If it is an Olympic sport and the Americans think they have a chance of winning it then they will throw money at. Rugby is quite big at a few universities. When I lived in CA I would go to watch Stanford play their home games. Good crowds and good fun.

  • Comment 63, posted at 17.04.15 08:57:56 by lostfish Reply
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  • @Snys13 (Comment 57) : Best of luck coach! Should this league come into fruition, I really hope you become involved so that I have a team to support in that competition.

  • Comment 64, posted at 17.04.15 08:59:07 by vanmartin Reply
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  • Thanks for good wishes guys! Level of rugby here is similar to community cup and fiercely contended. Got a coup,e decent SA boys in my squad and some Aussies. But the American players, although start later in life, bring a solid element to the pitch too. Would love one of the Durban club teams to come on tour and test themselves against my boys! ????

  • Comment 65, posted at 17.04.15 20:15:15 by Snys13 Reply

    Snys13
     
  • @Snys13 (Comment 65) : morning Andre – so great of you to spend time here with us. Much appreciated meneer.

    You looking for contacts at Durban clubs?

  • Comment 66, posted at 17.04.15 20:28:47 by robdylan Reply
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