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Archive for January, 2013

Heineken Cup 1996-97.

The 1996–97 Heineken Cup was the second edition of the Heineken Cup. Competing teams from France, Ireland, Italy, Wales and for the first time England and Scotland, were divided into four pools of five, in which teams played each other only once, meaning two home and two away games per team. The pool winners and runners-up qualified for the knock-out stages.

Eight teams played off in the Quarter finals, they were ranked on points tally, pool winners played runners up.

Quarter Finals

Cardiff 22 Bath 19 at Cardiff Arms Park
Leicester 23 Harlequins 13 at Welford Road, Leicester
Dax 18 Toulouse 26 at Stade Maurice-Boyau, Dax
Brive 35 Llanelli 14 at Parc Municipal des Sports, Brive-la-Gaillarde

Semi Finals

Leicester 37 Toulouse 11 at Welford Road
Brive 26 Cardiff 13 at Parc Municipal des Sports

Final

Brive 28 Leicester 9 at Cardiff Arms Park

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Six Nations Championship.

The Six Nations Championship, known for sponsorship reasons as the RBS 6 Nations, is an annual international rugby union competition involving six European sides: England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.

The Six Nations is the successor to the Five Nations Championship (1910–31 and 1947–99) which in turn succeeded the Home Nations Championship (1883–1909 and 1932–39). The Home Nations Championship, played between teams from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, was the first international rugby union tournament. The winners of the Six Nations Championship are also known as the European Champions.

Wales are the current title holders, winning each of its matches played during the 2012 Championship, to achieve a Triple Crown and Grand Slam.

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Countries of the World.

Croatia; Croatian: Hrvatska, officially the Republic of Croatia (Croatian: Republika Hrvatska) is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of Central Europe, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers 56,594 square kilometres (21,851 square miles) and has diverse, mostly continental and Mediterranean climates. Croatia’s Adriatic Sea coast contains more than a thousand islands. The country’s population is 4.29 million, most of whom are Croats, with the most common religious denomination being Roman Catholicism.

In the early 7th century the Croats arrived in the area of present-day Croatia. They organised the state into two duchies by the 9th century. Tomislav became the first king by 925 AD, elevating Croatia to the status of a kingdom. The Kingdom of Croatia retained its sovereignty for nearly two centuries, reaching its peak during the rule of Kings Peter Krešimir IV and Dmitar Zvonimir. Croatia entered a personal union with Hungary in 1102. In 1527, faced with Ottoman conquest the Croatian Parliament elected Ferdinand I of the House of Habsburg to the Croatian throne. In 1918, after World War I, Croatia was included in the short-lived State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs which seceded from Austria–Hungary and merged into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. A fascist Croatian puppet state existed during World War II. After the war, Croatia became a founding member and a federal constituent of Second Yugoslavia, a socialist state. In June 1991, Croatia declared independence, which came into effect on 8 October of the same year. The Croatian War of Independence was fought successfully during the four years following the declaration.

Croatia today has a very high Human Development Index. The International Monetary Fund classified Croatia as an emerging and developing economy, and the World Bank identified it as a high income economy. Croatia is a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, NATO, the World Trade Organization, CEFTA and a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean. Croatia is an acceding state of the European Union, with full membership expected in July 2013. As an active participant in the UN peacekeeping forces, Croatia has contributed troops to the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan and took a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2008–2009 term.

The service sector dominates Croatia’s economy, followed by the industrial sector and agriculture. Tourism is a significant source of revenue during the summer, with Croatia ranked the 18th most popular tourist destination in the world. The state controls a part of the economy, with substantial government expenditure. The European Union is Croatia’s most important trading partner. Since 2000, the Croatian government has invested in infrastructure, especially transport routes and facilities along the Pan-European corridors. Internal sources produce a significant portion of energy in Croatia; the rest is imported. Croatia provides a universal health care system and free primary and secondary education, while supporting culture through numerous public institutions and through corporate investments in media and publishing. The nation prides itself in its cultural, artistic and scientific contributions to the world, as well as in its cuisine, wines and sporting achievements.

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Heineken Cup 1995-96.

The 1995–96 Heineken Cup was the first edition of the Heineken Cup, which was to become the annual rugby union European club competition for clubs from the top six nations in European rugby. Competing teams, from France, Ireland, Italy, Wales and, for the only time to date, Romania (teams from England and Scotland were not permitted to enter the competition by the RFU and SRU respectively), were divided into four pools of three, in which teams played each other only once, meaning one home and one away games per team. The winners of the pools qualified for the knock-out stages.

Toulouse, Cardiff, Leinster and Swansea topped their respective pools and qualified for the semi finals. The draw was decided by the teams record in their pool.

Semi Finals:

Leinster 14 Cardiff 23 at Lansdowne Road, Dublin
Toulouse 30 Swansea 3 at Stade des Sept Deniers, Toulouse

Final:

Cardiff 18 Toulouse 21 A.E.T. at Cardiff Arms Park.

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Johnny Sexton.

The news that Johnny Sexton is to leave Ireland is a big blow to Irish and Leinster rugby. Sexton is the current Irish outhalf, and with restrictions placed on foreign players by French clubs his participation with the international set up will be curtailed.

However, the biggest worry is that foreign clubs are targeting Irish talent with huge cash incentives that the IRFU are unable or unwilling to match.

This development coupled with the cap on the number of foreign players that can be contracted to the provinces is a huge worry. As an Irish rugby fan, I am concerned about our ability to compete at the highest level in the future.

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Countries of the World.

Ivory Coast, officially the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire (French: République de Côte d’Ivoire), is a country in West Africa. It has an area of 322,462 square kilometres (124,503 sq mi), and borders the countries Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Ghana; its southern boundary is along the Gulf of Guinea. The country’s population was 15,366,672 in 1998 and was estimated to be 20,617,068 in 2009. Ivory Coast’s first national census in 1975 counted 6.7 million inhabitants.

Prior to its colonization by Europeans, Ivory Coast was home to several states, including Gyaaman, the Kong Empire, and Baoulé. There were two Anyi kingdoms, Indénié and Sanwi, which attempted to retain their separate identity through the French colonial period and after independence. An 1843–1844 treaty made Ivory Coast a protectorate of France and in 1893, it became a French colony as part of the European scramble for Africa. Ivory Coast became independent on 7 August 1960. From 1960 to 1993, the country was led by Félix Houphouët-Boigny. It maintained close political and economic association with its West African neighbours, while at the same time maintaining close ties to the West, especially to France. Since the end of Houphouët-Boigny’s rule, Ivory Coast has experienced one coup d’état, in 1999, and a civil war, which broke out in 2002. A political agreement between the government and the rebels brought a return to peace.

Ivory Coast is a republic with a strong executive power invested in the President. Its de jure capital is Yamoussoukro and the biggest city is the port city of Abidjan. The country is divided into 19 regions and 81 departments. It is a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, African Union, La Francophonie, Latin Union, Economic Community of West African States and South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone. Through production of coffee and cocoa, the country was an economic powerhouse during the 1960s and 1970s in West Africa. However, Ivory Coast went through an economic crisis in the 1980s, leading to the country’s period of political and social turmoil. The 21st century Ivoirian economy is largely market-based and relies heavily on agriculture, with smallholder cash crop production being dominant.

The official language is French, although many of the local languages are widely used, including Baoulé, Dioula, Dan, Anyin and Cebaara Senufo. The main religions are Islam, Christianity (primarily Roman Catholic) and various indigenous religions.

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Whale Scent.

Ambergris is probably one of the most unlikely perfume ingredients. This substance forms in the guts of sperm whales to combat stomach irritants e.g. squid beaks. It is then believed to be excreted by the whale, and the scent is said to be dunglike at first, but over time develops its own aroma. Ambergris comes in varying colours and scents, it can smell salty, animalish, earthy or even sweet. The substance has been largely replaced by synthetic materials in commercial perfumes in modern times.

Ambergris can be found in the Atlantic Ocean and on the coasts of Brazil, Madagascar, the East Indies, The Maldives, China, Japan, India, Australia, New Zealand, and the Molucca islands. Most commercially collected ambergris comes from The Bahamas in the Caribbean, particularly New Providence.

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