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Rugby Forum - Vol 2, Week 12
Rugby Forum - Vol 2, Week 12
(The week that was, a South African perspective)
24 Apr 2002
[SARF]
Rugby Forum is a weekly newsletter produced by rugbyforum.co.za, it is reposted here with their permission.
Be sure to check out the full Rugby Forum archive at www.rugbyforum.co.za

 
Volume 2, Week 12 Rugby Forum

Editors Note

Brilliant!    How many Cats and Bulls players does it take to screw in a light bulb? Correct, you’ve guessed it, none, they remain in the dark and there is no hope of light out there! The usual three losses and a defeat over the weekend left me in wonderful spirit, SA rugby has managed to achieve the one lacking ingredient ever since our readmission into world rugby in 1992, consistency! 

This is not another whining session as a matter of fact I thoroughly enjoyed the Sharks and Stormers matches, both teams played with confidence and abundance and yes there were mistakes, in the Sharks case match-losing mistakes but the men were out there playing their hearts out and proving some much needed points. 

1. There are players with skill and vision in SA.
2. We have forwards strong enough to compete.
3. We can score tries.

The “cheating” referee debate continues but an interesting letter from a referee (see letters to the editor) might not alter opinions but definitely provide another, first hand, point of view. At the end of the day, we need these officials and very few critiques will come close to making the correct decisions every time baring in mind the myriad of interpretations and the minefield that rugby rules have become. 

One positive thought is, with all the attention focused on the performance of the men in the middle they are acutely aware of the necessity to remain neutral at all times. The result may be a more damning attitude towards South African teams because face it the quantity of elementary errors are ridiculous, SA players do not listen to the referees and warning calls are not headed - guaranteed the referees will have justification for every penalty awarded, it is up to our players and teams to change this scenario. Or the poor referees will leave our teams alone and look at the opposition only; a resurrection of the Titanic is more likely.

The new book Nick and I by Rob van der Valk and Andy Colquhoun is a very interesting story and analysis of the South African rugby scenario. At a breakfast launch of the book, Nick Mallett was the guest speaker and he regaled the 400 strong audience with a typical charismatic, forthright speech and answering session. The book is excellent and well worth the read especially since the author was in a position to evaluate all the happenings from varied angles, players, manager and coach. 

A few of the points Mallett made and present in the book is worth noting and they follow randomly:
  • Regionalism of the South African Press is a big problem in SA rugby.

  • The current provincial structure does not make sense; there are too many unions – devaluing the quality of the Currie Cup.
  • The Vodacom Cup competition is a waste of time, the sponsorship (apparently worth R 40 m) should be utilized in a countrywide club competition – more transformation will be possible and Super 12 coaches will have a far better pool of players to select from. This will also encourage school leavers to play rugby.
  • The professional arm and the amateur arm of rugby is one and the same people who ran the game since 1992.
  • Administrators are at a loss regarding coaching appointments; none of them have the technical knowledge to make the correct judgment.
  • There is nobody coaching the coaches, from schoolboy level through to provincial.
  • The international fixture list is damning and should be divided into A, B, C class internationals according to countries rugby strength.
  • Transformation is being implemented from the “wrong” side, it should be bottom to top and it should start at school level with bursaries of promising “quota” players to the top rugby schools.
  • The Springbok team should be chosen on one criterion only – merit.

The breakfast was an eye opener and Mallett’s remark made in New Zealand a few year ago that the South African rugby public knows very little about professional, modern rugby is certainly a fair assessment. How to improve this and many of the points above are thrown squarely in front of the administrator’s door.

Congratulations to Dr. Venter and London Irish for their victory in the Powergen Cup, enjoy another weekend of Super 12 action, the games to look forward to are the Stormers, Sharks and Highlanders matches. Support your teams live at the park!

Lucas

lucas@rugbyforum.co.za


www.rugbyforum.co.za

 "More turgid ramblings from an armchair cynic" by Tom Marcellus

Being an avowed fan of the grizzled, school master-type rugger coach, not to mention a country bumpkin fresh from the rolling hills of the Natal Midlands, it was not difficult for me to find favour with the appointment of Herr Straeuli as the new Bok supremo. I have often, in these hallowed pages, waxed lyrical about the virtues as I see them of this meaty fellow, in whose outwardly grim bearing we can all recognise the qualities that made some coaches, from the fierce Oubaas Markőtter in the early years of the last century to the late Kitch Christie in more recent times, such outstanding personalities in Bok folklore.

But allow me to play devil's advocate for a while, if you please. By the same token, I must admit that I recognise very similar qualities in one G. Smal, whose similarly robust attitude towards the coaching of his highly-paid but often surprisingly delicate charges is well known. Of course, the person most qualified to pass judgment on the more vigorous qualities that the Stormers' coach possesses is Gary "Cessna" Knight, he of All Blacks fame and Cavaliers infamy. After all, it was the aforementioned Mr. Knight who ended up hyperventilating on the lush Ellis Park pitch one winter's day in 1986, courtesy of his making unexpected contact with Mr. Smal's oversized fist. Good Knight, nurse – I think he preferred the flour bomb, thanks very much.

Indeed, in playing terms, it does not seem unfair to say that Smal was many times the player that Straeuli was, despite the latter's obvious success as a member of the World Cup-winning team of 1995. But afore ye cry foul for this blasphemy, at least allow me to rely on none other than Doc Craven for reinforcement. The Good Doctor sang the praises of Smal – and it wasn't just because he was a fellow Matie either. Sadly, the Province flanker, like so many of the abundantly-talented players of his generation, remains all-but forgotten when the names of the all-time great players are mentioned.

But I digress – let's get back to the debate, cunningly disguised as a can of worms, that I referred to earlier, i.e. that between the relative virtues of coach Straeuli and coach Smal. The popular view is that the key issue in the minds of the deciding panel was the former's successes in the Super 12 of 2001, when he miraculously managed to turn around Reece-Edwards' dismal Shark Attack (Nibble, more likely) of 2000 into subsequent Currie Cup contenders and Super 12 runners-up. Smal, on the other hand, despite enjoying success over his east coast rival in successive Currie Cup finals, had not enjoyed such success on the international stage.

Being a suspicious fellow, and bearing this apparent emphasis on international laurels in mind, I wonder whether the esteemed judging panel would have re-considered their selection, had they had the benefit of being able to consider the opening games of this year's Super 12? After the 2002 Super 12 pipe-openers, the change in the fortunes of the two coaches was one of the talking points where-ever Japie rugby fans met. Whereas Smal somehow managed to galvanise his squad of perennial under-achievers into (initially, at least) the standard bearers of the SA provincial game, the new Bok coach was forced to endure one drubbing after another.

In fact, to this humble scribe it seemed as if much, if not all, of the advantage derived by Straeuli over his rival by his successes in last year's Super 12 (naturally, his stint of village rugger in Bedford didn't count) had been rubbed out by the string of defeats of 2002. With the 2001 successors thus cancelled out, all that separated the two protagonists was their relative successes in the domestic game. Here, Smal, with his successive Currie Cup championship victories, was unmatched.

To the armchair cynic, it may appear that the current Bok coach has managed to secure his position by what seems to have been an unjustified emphasis by the panel on his initial, fleeting international successes. The self-same cynic would probably then conclude that Straeuli has ridden his luck as far as it will go and that his true colours as a coach of international stature (or otherwise) are only now becoming evident. The selectors' haste to rid themselves of the spiky-haired Leatherman has led them to plump for Straeuli before they were able to assess him properly, our sedentary mate mutters to himself, as he adds another dollop of cream to his gooseberry tart.

Time, i.e. the next few months of international preparation and battle, will only tell whether the selectors' choice of opting for the grizzle-eared ex-flanker was the correct one. Being an avowed fan of the granite-faced new coach, however, I am confident that Straeuli will, at the very least, make the best of a potentially diabolical situation.

In the meantime, Mr. Smal, as he waits in the wings, will have more reason then most to occasionally check the back pages of the Sunday Times over his morning croissants. In the merry-go-round of Springbok coaching, his day of glory will surely come.

Of course, Andrė Watson's favourite parrot-on-his-back, the excitable Mr. Putt, will also no doubt have good reason to keep abreast with developments on the back page of that noble publication. He may check out the odd rugger score, too. Given his not unremarkable turn-around of the fortunes of the Sharks in recent weeks, could it not be argued that we have the wrong man in the job? After all, a 67% win record in the Super 12 is not to be sneezed at (he said ever-so tongue in cheek). But I think not. After all, the mere physical dimensions of Straeuli, with his meaty frame and stern countenance, inspire confidence in us huddled, tremulous masses.

Putt, whose Guinness-guzzling buddies at London Irish won the English Cup in style on the weekend, will soon no doubt learn the harsh realities of being a provincial rugby coach in SA. In the meantime, let him savour the joys of sporadic triumph, self-assured for the time being that he has opted for the right career.

Messrs Frans Ludeke and Heynecke Meyer, I suspect, have little or none of this cockiness. Fish-packing in Iceland, anyone?

tom@rugbyforum.co.za


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Towards the Final Countdown by Desmond Organ
As we approach the final few matches of the Super 12, South Africans can be forgiven for looking forward to the test series against Wales and the Tri Nations competition. This is not a case of sour grapes; rather a desperate desire to erase the memories of what has been a miserable last two months.

The perennial evils of South African sport have raised their ugly presence and to elaborate here is stating the obvious, instead I will attempt to outline some of the positive developments of the last few weeks in the hope that a small miracle occurs in the next couple of months.

The appointment of Rudolf Straeuli as national coach has given us the hope that there will at least be some sober discipline and a return to several of the traditional strengths of Springbok rugby. Nick Mallet may have shot himself in the foot when he stated that South Africa will battle to make the semi-finals of the World Cup. I say this because there is absolutely no doubt that the national team will again bring a level of fear to their opponents, especially in the forwards. 

I was surprised to learn of the decision to retain Tim Lane as part of the coaching core. This may have a lot to do with the fact that the Springbok business unit has paid a lot of money for this resource and he was really not in a professional environment under Harry. The time has come for him to show us that he has the ability and the knowledge required to unleash a competitive backline. I know that he should look beyond Straeuli for expertise in this area. 

The performances of both the Sharks and the Stormers over the last weekend led me to believe that we may just have enough talent to provide Mr. Straeuli with the 22 players for the series against Wales. It is extremely disappointing to see the Bulls and the Cats dish up their weekly trash, a better word is hard to come by. So much of this has to do with the regional structures put together by SARFU and this has simply got to change next year. 

The Sharks management has found a potential jewel in Kevin Putt and the players that he chooses to represent the Sharks in the Currie Cup may include a few surprises. Several of the old guard may well find themselves playing even more golf than is the case at present, maybe that was the problem in the first place. This might just be what is needed for some of the players at the Bulls and the Cats.

The proposed trial match for the national team is not a bad idea if one considers that we will probably not be in the semi finals of the Super 12. One thing is for sure, it will give some of the injured players a chance to prove their ability. It may also be an opportunity for us to watch some of the glamour boys to be brought down to earth. Playing the game at altitude and in the mid afternoon may be just what the doctor ordered. We need players that can play for 80 minutes.

Prepare for a few surprises when the final group of players is announced. Several of the more familiar faces of Springbok rugby last year may well find themselves in the dark. Bob Skinstad has got to play out of his skin if he is to deny several players the chance to wear the no 8 jersey, the same can be said for Conrad Jantjes in the no 15 jersey and for Dean Hall in the no 11 jersey. Corné Krige and A.J Venter are the only current loose forwards likely to be retained. Johan Conradie has just about claimed the no 9 jersey and the person to join him at no 10 is the most uncertain of all the selections. 

The tight five could also see a few new faces and the retirement of the old. Mark Andrews is not a certainty and the coach must find an enforcer to replace him. Albert van den Bergh and Hottie Louw have given us a lot to feel good about and so has Quinton Davids. Victor Matfield will need to visit Bobby and company to discuss their plans for playing exceptional rugby in the next few weeks. Ollie Le Roux has been given a life line with the arrival of Kevin Putt at the Sharks and should focus on getting even fitter. John Smit is almost a certainty at no 2 as Tjoepie van den Heever cannot throw the ball in with any consistency. 

The back three of the Purse, Slap Chips and Paulse looks set to return, with a strong challenge from Terblanché. In the midfield we may have a combination of surprises. The only certainty at this point is De Wet Barry. The no 13 jersey could go to one of Ettienne Botha or Clyde Rathbone.

For what it is worth here is an early prediction of the final 22 for Wales.

15. The Purse
14. Paulse
13. Botha or Rathbone
12. Barry
11. Roussouw
10. Greeff 
9. Conradie
8. Sowerby
7. Venter
6. Krige (capt)
5. Louw or Matfield
4. van den Bergh
3. Visagie
2. Smit
1. Le Roux 

Replacements:
Davids
Terblanché
Gerber
Davidson
Rautenbach
Van Biljon (depends on injury)
Du Toit

des@rugbyforum.co.za


 “What are the Cats and Bulls good for?” by Mark Foster

Ah, yet another week of Super 12 rugby and again a sad report of South African results however two sides are displaying the kind of guts and determination SA supporters demand, the Sharks and the Stormers. The competition is now in the final quarter and with three matches remaining a post mortem may be premature but for the Cats and the Bulls the fat lady has sung, where did it all go wrong for these two hapless teams?

On a positive note, congratulations must go to the two coastal outfits, firstly, the Stormers for recording that elusive away victory in New Zealand admittedly over their weakest team but the quality of the performance should not be forgotten. The Pieter Rossouw inspired team provided spectators with a wonderful display of running rugby, powerful forward rummaging and intelligent touches of genius. 

The Sharks were magnificent and was it not for two crucial errors from Stefan Terblanché they would have recorded the first victory over the brilliant Crusaders. Forget the referee, this was a marvelous game with both sides changing tactics throughout the match. The Sharks were maybe guilty of running out of impossible situations and it took the old master, Andrew Mehrtens who arrived as a “supersub” to point this out and exploit it. His experience provided the differencing factor in a close victory. Well done guys, there is loads of hope for Mr Straeuli.

The Bulls, where can one begin? With any structure it is worthwhile to start at the top, the administrators saw it fit to appoint the third new coach in as many years, this was a mistake, it has been proven that continuity make a huge difference. The coach, Heyneke Meyer has made a few errors, selection of personnel being the biggest contributing factor to their weak performances, this includes both his coaching staff and the players.

The Bulls are very good at attacking and for a team who has not won anything they have scored a remarkable 23 tries, more than the Hurricanes and we know who their backline is! How many tries were let in though? A staggering 55 to date – it is clear that there is no defensive coach working with this team. Defense is also a clear reflection of discipline and pride; the discipline originates from the coach, through the captain to the players. Chris Le Roux was dealt a cruel blow by his appointment as a Super 12 captain in his first season of top flight rugby, yes he did play in the Currie Cup last year but the Bulls were sadly lacking in this competition as well and the standards are not what they should be. 

The players are disproportionately selected from arguably the weakest union in the Bulls catchments area, the Blue Bulls. The Falcons and the Pumas possess enough players who proved their worth in the Currie Cup and over years of rugby, where are they? Exciting players like Botha and Jacobs are used sparingly and flyhalves were chosen as fullbacks and what not, a shambles.

The Bulls will need far more than the Oros man to cure their slump, sacking the coach will not help either as the same problems will revisit every year, they are in a Helleresque conundrum and for them to escape they will need some divine intervention. Maybe with "Oom" Louis, in many opinions (including himself) the closest to divine intervention on earth they will receive a much-needed winning force to restore old pride by hook or by crook.

The Cats, the overwhelming feeling here is that Frans Ludeke is out of his depth, he accepted a job with certain preconceptions - Vos, Erasmus, Venter, Ackerman, Mulder, van Niekerk and Delport and to make do without this formidable arsenal will be the death of any coach. Even so, the Cats seem devoid of any real firepower and their well-drilled ability to control matches has evaporated with Mr Mains to the Highlanders. They were never really a flashy bunch but boy did they do the basics well, none of that this year and with a coach treading water and precious little experience they will have to forget about this season and regard it as a school of hard knocks. Next year, and it will make sense to continue with the coach they can only improve, unfortunately egos are bruised, confidence is shattered and this we now know count for a lot in a professional players make up.

South African rugby will continue its roller coaster ride and the Cats/Bulls scenario will not be the last – at least there are certain assurances; they cannot do any worse and along the way one or two real gems will stick their hands up, like Bobo, Botha and Pretorius. For now it is all these two teams are good for.

mark@rugbyforum.co.za


Super 12 Log

Team

Played Won Won
Home
Won
Away
Lost Lost
Home
Lost 
Away
Points
For
Points
Against
Tries
For
Tries
Against
Bonus
Points
Points
Crusaders 8 8 5 3 0 0 0 288 195 30 21 4 36
Waratahs 7 7 4 3 1 0 1 275 144 35 14 6 34
Brumbies 7 5 3 2 3 1 2 268 165 34 16 7 27
Reds 8 5 4 1 3 1 2 249 194 29 20 6 26
                           
Highlanders 8 5 3 2 3 1 2 244 150 28 17 5 25
Blues 8 5 3 2 3 0 3 255 177 30 20 4 24
Hurricanes 8 5 3 2 3 1 2 179 206 17 24 2 22
Stormers 8 3 1 2 5 3 2 237 237  26 23 6 18
Chiefs 8 2 0 2 6 3 3 211 255 24 30 6 14
Sharks 8 2 2 0 6 2 4 131 258 15 29 2 10
Cats 8 1 0 1 7 3 4 162  296 16 38 1 5
Bulls 8 0 0 0 8 5 3 171 393 23 55 2 2

Rugby Forum Super 12 XV

Rugby Forum Springbok XV

1. Bill Young (Brumbies)
2. Jeremy Paul (Brumbies)
3. Faan Rautenbach (Stormers)
4. Justin Harrison (Brumbies)
5. Chris Jack (Crusaders)
6. Richard McCaw (Crusaders)
7. Owen Finnegan (Brumbies)
8. Toutai Kefu (Reds)
9. George Gregan (Brumbies)
10. Duncan McRae (Waratahs)
11. Pieter Rossouw (Stormers)
12. Paul Steinmetz (Highlanders)
13. Stirling Mortlock (Brumbies)
14. Roger Randle (Chiefs)
15. Matt Rogers (Waratahs)

1. Daan Human (Stormers)
2. John Smit (Sharks)
3. Faan Rautenbach (Stormers)
4. Albert van den Bergh (Sharks)
5. Hottie Louw (Stormers)
6. Corné Krige (Stormers)
7. A.J. Venter (Sharks)
8. Sean Sowerby (Sharks)
9. Johannes Conradie (Stormers)
10. Andre Pretorius (Cats)
11. Pieter Rossouw (Stormers)
12. De Wet Barry (Stormers)
13. Ettienne Botha (Bulls)
14. Breyten Paulse (Stormers)
15. Percy Montgomery (Stormers)

Quotes
After a brain scan - It went well. There are no problems, and, as a bonus, it showed that I have a brain!     Corne Krige

On SA rugby administrators - It's like turkeys voting for Christmas.    Alan Solomons

A member of SARFU's (South African Rugby Football Union) executive management asked me to make myself available as Bok coach again. I thought about it for a millisecond and said no. There are too many things in our rugby that counts against a coach.     Nick Mallett

The game, it seems, have fallen into the hands of MBA cowboys and is not the terrain of former players and patriotic rugby people anymore - those that still sit up straight when a green jersey is talked about.      Ferdi Greyling


Letters to the Editor (letters@rugbyforum.co.za)
Dear Ed

It is with some trepidation that I write this e-mail. You see, I am one of the “enemies”, i.e. a referee. I am still in the lower ranks at club rugby level and in my fourth season. I have in other words been on the receiving end of a fair amount of abuse.

What a bunch of moaners we are. We have exhausted all possible avenues to justify our poor performance and have now settled on a new culprit, the referee. Much easier than sweeping in front of your own door, or as they say in Afrikaans “hand in eie boesem steek”.

I doubt that many people are aware of the fact that in any given match a referee has to make on average 400 decisions. Take for example the kick-off, “Is the correct kick being taken? Are there any players in front of the kicker? Is it taken on the correct spot? Has the ball traveled 10 meters?” And once the ball alights, believe me, all hell breaks loose! 

Players make mistakes, referees make mistakes. Every international, provincial and first league referee gets assessed in the finest detail. I doubt any one of them enjoys having all his ” transgressions” pointed out to him on a regular basis. We all aspire to the impossible perfect game. I have heard the argument that they are professionals. Yes they are, so are doctors, lawyers, sportsmen and women. And yes, they also make mistakes. It is just such a pathetic whining attitude to assume that South Africa is being targeted.

And next time the likes of Mr. Colin van Rensburg is at a club or school game, spare a thought for the referee (who is not being paid), and tone down the abuse. But then referee bashing is a sport in itself. Like professional armchair sportsmen, they are the real experts!

Regards
Jenny Bentel
 
Thank you for your input Jenny! You mention that referees are evaluated on a per match basis, is it possible to give the readers any insight into:

a. What do assessors look at in every match, are there fixed criteria?
b. Are these assessors present at every match and are they neutrals?
c. Do referees receive a "report card" of their performances?
d. What can teams do if they "suspect" that a referee is "biased"?

Maybe it will help to clear up a lot of misunderstanding as you can see, the supporters are "slightly" unhappy!

Ed


Dear Ed

Regarding Tom's column and reminiscing over the past, I would like to add that during the so called 70's while you were watching the Currie Cup final, the Durbanites were not all choosing between Blou Bulles and Province whom to support, as during those years football and cricket was so well supported by us English folk that we were more concerned about our own Currie Cup, the likes of Durban United, Durban City and the once great football stadium of Kingsmead was filled to capacity, not Kingspark. I was part of that past Tom is talking about and due to it my family and other family( such as Butch James) were forced to change and follow rugby but the past is history and from it we have become smarter and learnt our mistakes from it. Yet I see the same thing happening, years ago I predicted to an Afrikaans rugby supporting colleague that what happened to football in South Africa will happen to rugby, this I predicted right after South Africa won the world cup. He denied this said I was crazy, he is/was a staunch Transvaal/Lions/Cats yet two weeks ago on a Saturday afternoon when I phoned him while the Cats were playing the Chiefs in Bloemfontein, he was outside gardening. 

But as has happened to the past where great footballers have left for greener and more professional pastures so too is rugby following suit, have a look at the Bloemfontein stadium last week. Kingsmead in the late 80's began to look the same empty. It was so bad the administrators of Kingsmead were forced to put a dirt track in, just to lore the crowd back so the stadium would not become a white elephant. 

We should not be reminiscing the past but learning from it by making sure that we do not make the same mistakes in the present and future, is that possible I think not, as history has proven after the world went through one World War what did we do but decide to go through a second. 

The way forward to all supporters team sport is to change and follow individual sports such as golf, tennis, boxing etc. and get your kids involved in these individual sports, as the team events in South Africa is a thing of the past, as one famous South African administrator said, "it does not matter whether we win or lose the rugby World Cup so long as transformation has taken place." In sport and life it does matter who wins and loses, if teams like Manchester United used that statement they would not be the richest football club in the world only in South Africa and Africa continent are statements made.

Wayne 


Greetings Mr Editor

Thanks for a great publication, it's great to read and hear what other fans think about SA Rugby.

On to that most feared of subjects: Biased Referee's. Reading through the last few issues it is plain to see that
many SA fans fell that we are being 'done in' by the Az and NZ referee's. Chaps let us look no further than our own Tappe Henning and Andre' Watson for biased whistle blowing. I would far rather have a 'foreign' ref that one of the two stalwarts mentioned above in charge of a rugby game.

As for TV refs lets look no further than the dodgy try awarded to Bolla Conradie by a SA ref, in SA, at Newlands.

So lets remove the SA blinkers/bias and look at ALL refs, not only the foreign contingent before we start crying and throwing the dummy out of the cot!!

Andrew Marais

Dear Editor

Three cheers to Tom Marcellus. 

His deep love and knowledge of this most sacred of games and its rich traditions is self-evident. In an age where it is so easy to be caught up in the fast paced excitement of overdone sponsor-dictated tournaments and quickly forgotten arbitrary games, it is easy to lose sight of the game's humble origins and the humility of its pathfinders. 

Mr Marcellus' well-written weekly excursions into the game's heritage is a surreptitious reminder that while the present over-paid yet under-performing crop of rugby "rock-stars" enjoy the substantial financial rewards of the game, there are those long forgotten greats that expected nothing but the privilege and honour of being part of a proud tradition and a wonderful game. Even though they were only amateurs, they managed to play week-in and week-out as if their very lives depended on it. 

Fortunately players of the caliber of Honiball and Kruger in the recent past and presently Krige, Visagie and Van Biljon are keeping the heritage alive. Sadly though this list of current players is far too short. 

That aside, I can't wait for Mr Marcellus to recount the tale of Colin Meads and Kel Tremain's attempts to keep the one-eyed Springbok flanker Martin Pelser away from all black scrumhalf, Kevin Briscoe, in the 1960 test series. Is Krige the Pelser of the class of 2002? I think he is. 

Keep up the good work.

Greg Amm

Dear Ed

Is it not amazing that it takes a foreign coach to come and teach use skills, look at the cats under mains and the huge difference in the sharks this last weekend under putt.

Just goes to show the mindset of coaches of this country and it seems to be that because we have big men here we must bash our way through any team in our way...what a silly outlook and in the long run leads to players crying off injured and complaining about the number of games they are playing and all the other complaints that you hear from the players and there union.

I would like to suggest that these guys are covering up the real problem and that is that they are not having fun anymore, would you be? running into the opposition all year round is not where the fun is in this game but wrong footing him, seeing in his eyes the realization that you have him by the short and curies or putting that last pass in, now that's fun. I just wish that SA coaches could see the advantage that they have, you see size is something that this country is blessed with, we are born that way BUT SKILL IS NOT INHERITED, IT IS TAUGHT so if they want to improve the rugby in SA don't think that a guy who is chosen does not need to keep on practicing skills, these are his bread and butter and he must keep them fresh.

The other big difference in the sharks first half was that they stayed on there feet, you see if the ball is in the hands it will be (80% of the time) going forward and leaving defenders behind it, put it on the ground and it stops and allows the defense to reform and the bashing has to start all over again were as with a bit of skill and staying on your feet you get your man behind the defence and going forward with runners up his behind ready to continue the momentum.

Hoping to see more this weekend

Regards.
Andre van Rooyen


Dear Ed 

Yes I did go to Ixopo and my playing days their were the best of my rugby, thanks largely to Giles and the manner he made us play the game, both at school and club level.

Now to more current matters and the disaster we call SA rugby were we saw yet again SA teams playing rugby to structures, which our coaches don't seem to realize are readable like a Hustler mag, so's week in and week out) and when you can read your opponents game you can plan your defense, because if you know that the ball will go to him and he will do this that is easy to stop and the modus operandus of SA teams is hit, go to ground, drive over so to defend this let him through the first line and he will isolate himself, let him hit and go to ground and then slow his ball down, at this point he will either hold on for a penalty to you or lose the ball to you as a turn over offering you a counter attack option that has his players all out of shape with no real defense in place.

To fix this is so easy, STAY ON YOUR FEET AND WAIT FOR SUPPORT RUNNERS, lay off and continue to drive a wedge into there defenses this will do two things for you 1,leave defenders behind the ball where YOU WANT THEM.2,the defenders that are still in front of the ball will now have to DEFEND TO THE BALL AND IN DOING THAT LEAVE THERE CHANNELS EXPOSED.

THIS IS JUST A SMALL TWEAK AND THE COACHES IN SA SHOULD BE SEEING THIS.

Until we speak again 

Regards.
Andre van Rooyen


Geagte Red,

My mondvol oor refs soos ook gestuur aan Naas en Arnie

Ek sien meer en meer skrywers en lesers asook spelers begin openlik die partydigheid van skeidsregters bevraagteken. Ek besef elke besluit wat 'n skeidsregter maak word deur verskillende spanne se ondersteuners verskillend waargeneem en geinterpreteer.

My Voorstel;

Indien ons elke wedstryd laat ontleed soos wat Joel Stransky en Jake White dit doen op Head to Head deur 'n paneel van kenners/skeidsregters wat dan elke aksie ontleed volgens vooraf bepaalde criteria, dit op 'n rekenaar inlees soortgelyk aan die % van tyd in elke ander span se gebied en dit grafies voorstel glo ek gaan ons baie interresante tendense waarneem.

Kyk na die beslissing- reg., verkeerd, eensydig en ken fout % toe. Kyk na beslissings NIE gemaak en evalueer soortgelyk

Kriteria voorstelle:

Balle skeef in skrums/lynstane toegelaat al dan nie
Balle "uit" by 'n losskrum na die een kant en na die ander kant
Hoog/laat gevaarlike tackles - wat word gestraf en wat nie - geel kaart en/of nie
Onkant lyne toegelaat en of gestraf
Obstruksie soos ander speler vashou, voor hom inhardloop ens.
Aanslane - bal glo agtertoe laat val en die ander keer weer toegelaat.
Toeken van geel karate
Invloed van lynregters
Trappery in losskrums
Vuishoue - en die straf daarvan.
Skrum beslissengs - inskrum, verkeerd bind, opskrum
Flanke wat nie bind nie - soms toegelaat en ander weer nie

Ek glo dat indien elke wedstryd so ontleed word gaan ons 'n beduidende skewe beeld sien tot voordeel van die oorsese spanne. Foute word wel gemaak - dit is menslik en aanvaarbaar, maar daar is net te veel skewe beslissings wat my laat wonder. Hoe gaan hierdie beeld verander van die eeste na die tweede helfte as die ander span reeds voor is?

Indien alle skeidregters so geevalueer word, en die resultate in % formaat bekend gemaak word, sal ons hierdie probleem van eenogige skeidregters, al dan nie, korrek kan evalueer. Toets een of meer wedstryde self, en kyk wat is julle waarneming.

Ek glo ons Suid Afrikaners is te Gentleman om elke keer openlik te kla, maar genoeg is ook genoeg. Iewers moet ons staan op ons regte.

Groete
Jan Leonard


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three losses and a defeat?!? That sounds too much like 4 losses to me, which is unfair on the Stormers! I know it's hard to say Lucas but how about you call that last one a WIN.
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