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|Volume 2, Week 22|
|Brilliant! Oh, the wonderful month of
July and before any of you expect prose from the likes of Tennyson or
Langenhoven let me disappoint you early… this is a rugby publication
although “Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon
behind them, Volley'd and thunder'd;” may aptly describe the
predicament of the Baby Blacks in the early morning hours of Saturday… the
month of July is the beginning of the Tri Nations! |
Before we streak ahead to the battles that loom a quick announcement, Rugby Forum will take a breather next week but will return on the 18th July before the big test against the Kiwis in Wellington, remember go Slappies go!?
The Highveld again proved to be the Springboks best hunting ground when Corné Krige’s men dispatched a strong Argentinean side in Springs. Credit is due to the tight five who produced a very composed performance against arguably the strongest scrum in world rugby. The Puma’s were never going to run the ball with their selection of flyhalf and with the Springbok eight matching them upfront the superior backs scored 6 tries, almost all spectacular. One concern from the match was the Springboks inability to deliver the killer blow, through lapse of concentration they allowed the Argies back in the game at various stages and in the end the score flattered. Again I say, a win is a win and with the excellent display from André Pretorius is much hope for the Tri Nations.
Before the much anticipated competition kicks off on the 13th between Australia and New Zealand there is the not so trivial matter of West Samoa, the Islanders are big, fast, aggressive and use to upsets, ask Wales. The Springboks need to adapt a very clinical, professional approach in dispatching this team to not only enhance a budding reputation but to fine tune the cylinders before the big game in two weeks time. One quote from Gareth Davies always spring to mind when thinking about the men who in the 1995 RWC made Kamikaze fighters look like amicable dinner partners, “Only team that we've (Wales) beaten was Western Samoa. Good job we didn't play the whole of Samoa.” As said, clinically dispatch… and move on.
One of rugby’s oldest “pastimes” made headlines again over the weekend; I’m referring of course to a good old “barney” after a hard match. The rumour mill will concoct many a tale why the NZ under 21’s were given a few smacks, shot at (one great quip and my apologies to overseas readers not use to this kind of thing was, “if the pistol wielding persons meant to shoot at the Baby Blacks they would have done so and not missed” – a chilling but very true observation.) and “robbed” of their shirts. There is a saying in Afrikaans that best describe – Afrika is nie vir sissies nie! – translated as “Africa is not for the feint hearted”. The management of the Baby Blacks should have known and conveyed the possibility of this kind of thing in that kind of place. Nobody was seriously hurt thank goodness, maybe just a bit of dented pride!
The other dust up involving Bob Skinstad is a peculiar one – anybody who has watched Skinstad play can attest to his total lack of dirty play, fighting or otherwise. There must have been ample reason for the ex-Springbok captain to get involved, he knows how much attention rides on his every on and off the field. Coming to the aid of your brother, handicapped or not is in most eyes expected not an exception even if the brother caused the trouble (not that I’m saying he did!) – it happens in every family.
RF’s sincere condolences to the family members of old Springbok captain Stephen Fry who passed away on Saturday. Take care all and enjoy the brilliant test rugby in the next two weeks, a prediction for the Tri Nations opener – Australia to win narrowly in Christchurch!
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|Apartheid Dinosaurs by Desmond Organ|
The humour of it all, just when we thought that Louis Luyt and company had
disappeared from the local game, he has reappeared as controversially as
he disappeared several years ago. The fact that he has chosen to play the
“race card” should not surprise readers in South Africa or those less
familiar with the day to day rumblings of a society in the process of
Suffice to say that I welcome the opportunity to engage in another round of cynicism, albeit from the position of a devil’s advocate. That Mr. Luyt has chosen to engage the transformation process through the media and through the support of several former rugby greats, should not surprise us. It was Mr. Luyt himself who several years ago, took the unprecedented step of taking the then President, Nelson Mandela to court. That he won the initial round is also not surprising, you are dealing with a man who is not scared to face the opposition head on.
The publishing of the book through MWU – Solidarity is also not surprising. The same said Union was an integral part of the mechanisms of the apartheid economy. The book has already created several media responses, the most significant of which was the Minister of Sports reference to the authors as “Apartheid Dinosaurs”. Such a choice of words is about as much as Mr. Luyt deserves, but then again he does appear to find it extremely easy to ruffle the feathers of the political establishment. We have now all come to expect such a “subtle” choice of words from the Minister, it merely adds to his collection of statements on accommodation and cuisine.
Engaging in a verbal war with Mr. Luyt is only going to give him the encouragement to continue his crusade. Perhaps the Minister should take a leaf out of the book of several of the board members of SA Rugby and focus on the positives of the new initiatives rather than resorting to the past. This tendency appears to happen both within and outside of South Africa. I have been amazed at how ill informed people are about the transformation process in South African sport. Many a discussion with followers of the game around the world invariably ends up with a cynical comment about the apartheid system.
It was only two weeks ago that I met an Australian in Chicago whilst watching a tape replay of the Australia vs. New Zealand Maoris game. He informed me that he was very impressed with the way that South Africa had played against Wales and even went as far as to say: “You blokes are really playing a great deal better now that you have a couple of black blokes in the team.” A simple recognition of the fact that times had changed would have sufficed, few South Africans other than Mr. Luyt and the politicians he torments want to play the colour card on a continuous basis.
The passage in the book regarding the quota system has got the proverbial tongues wagging. It claims that the system, “promotes players who, in many instances, are not as good as the players they are keeping out of the teams. Thus the possibility grows that the wrong players are being developed to play Test rugby.”
There may well be an element of truth in this statement, but that does not mean that the process itself is not an integral part of the future survival of the South African game. Most people are against tokenism of any sort, that it should invade the sporting arena is not something that any aspiring sports person wants to hear. The fact of the matter is that in post apartheid South Africa there is going to be a period of affirmative action which is essential to the survival of the game. My only hope is that it does not reach the levels of continuity that one witnesses in several other countries around the world. South Africans have to accept that there is a majority black population in South Africa that is not going to be appeased by the same tokenism afforded to people of colour in countries where the so-called whites are in the majority. The efforts of the administrators are commendable in that they recognize that the future of the game depends upon it. They do however; have an equal responsibility to ensure that the politicians do not take the transformation process as an opportunity to dwell in the past. The realities of the modern financial world are such that those who dwell in the past often do not survive into the future.
As for Mr. Luyt and his cronies, they might as well jump into an ox wagon and ride around the world looking for people who are going to take them seriously. I am just saddened that there are former rugby greats amongst those who have chosen to make such a public statement about a process which cannot be avoided if South Africa is to become a truly representative sporting nation.
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|The Ghostbusters by Mark Foster|
|The ghost of Springs was buried in emphatic fashion by the
Springboks of 2002, all-time greats like John Gainsford, Jannie
Engelbrecht, Mof Myburgh, Hannes Marais, Frik du Preez, Tommy Bedford and
Doug Hopwood lost a test at the PAM Brink stadium in 1964. It may not have
been against French opposition but Rudolf Straeuli’s team can look back
and say “vindicated” after a good win over Argentina’s Pumas.|
The match may have a slightly lopsided score 49 - 29 but the battle was all but easy and the resting of several players for injuries and “niggles” this weekend is testament to a physical and robust encounter. As before this year, let’s have a look at the game in a short analysis.
The Springbok forwards really impressed for the first time this season against the much-vaunted Argentine scrum. The pressure was sufficient for the dangerous backs to receive good ball on the front foot and the six tries and Andre Pretorius’ performance at no 10 was mostly due to the tight five’s contribution. The pack did find the going tougher when Dalton and Meyer were substituted and the many theories with Ollie as a “slightly large” hooker seemed to surface once more. His body is difficult to bind on – or so the more “knowledgeable” front row experts say. The real reason may just be that the young props are exactly that, inexperienced at international level and there are few bigger tests than the famed “bajada” formation and no disgrace by “learning” a few things from them. The lineouts were a bit messy, there was little competing on the Argentine throw in and a few balls went astray by both Dalton and Ollie. The swirling side wind in the relative open stadium could have had an effect but this is no excuse as the NZ stadiums are quite open and these are professionals we’re talking about.
The Springboks did not do too well in this department and conceded far too many penalties for not entering behind the last feet. One good aspect was the readiness of backline players to engage in robbing the ball off the tackled player. The loose forwards were very effective in linking with the backline and a few tries came as direct result of great vision and skills from the loosies. SA still doesn’t have the right combination for the Tri Nations and in a country with a host of exceptional loose forwards it is sacrilege.
Now we talking! The backline was very dangerous and every time they received possession one got the impression they could score. Superbly marshalled by Pretorius any number of players can now slot in and perform at international level. Six tries scored and all six by backline players tells the story, the “donkeys” do the work and the “girls” score the tries!
15 Brent Russell – 0 Unfortunately his participation in this match was cut short rather abruptly by an injury.
14 Stefan Terblanché – 7 the “right” Stefan pitched for this match, he was at his finishing best by scoring two tries and let’s face it, that’s his job first and foremost. He needs to improve on his all round quality contribution but hopefully an extended run in the right wing berth will only improve his play.
13 Adrian Jacobs – 7 the young centre played very well and his running is always exciting, he scored a well deserved try on the day’s performance although he still needs to work on his defence. Straeuli cleverly knew that he would not really be tested in a one on one scenario with the kicking style flyhalf, Queseda.
12 De Wet Barry – 7 his defence was excellent as usual and on attack he provides a strong presence to feed off the creativity of Pretorius.
11 Breyton Paulse – 5 similar to the previous weeks he struggled to get in the game and what opportunities he had, spilt the ball. The problem may be in adjusting to the left side of the field although that has nothing to do with catching the ball! In his favoured right wing he should be back in great form sooner rather than later.
10 André Pretorius – 8.5 an excellent match from the young pivot who stamped his authority on the game with a personal contribution of 24 points and a commanding presence in the other tries. The Butch James threat may be real but this confident young man will not relinquish his position without a fight. My man of the match.
9 Craig Davidson – 7 another unfortunate injury ruled the promising player out for over 6 months! As far as commitment goes few will question his inclusion but his service is not as good as say Conradie or De Kock. The Springboks are well served with scrumhalves after the season began with a huge worry.
8 Bob Skinstad – 7 this was probably Bob’s finest match to date and not being captain has a positive impact as a player. His lineout work is exceptional and his deft touches contributed to two tries. The only “problem” with Bob is that some players are not use to his extravagant skills and they need to be aware that the ex-captain will get the ball out faster and more creative than most.
7 AJ Venter – 5.5 not a good say for AJ, his discipline is not up to test standard and he was probably very lucky not to be sent off for dangerous tackles, in Afrikaans there is a very descriptive term for a player like AJ, vuilgat! In the old days there was a place for players like this, nowadays with all the technology available its becoming increasingly difficult. He struggles to “gel” with the other loose forwards as a combo.
6 Corné Krige (captain) – 6 a very quiet match from the new captain and quite understandably so, captaining your country on a notorious ground provide different challenges than the Stormers at home in Newlands. He will turn it around no doubt and expect him to “cook” this Saturday.
5 Hottie Louw – 6.5 the big man was solid in his first start, one very good aspect was the tight five’s showing against one of the best packs in the business. It means the locks were doing their bit in containing the Pumas. With a few more matches he will become as comfortable as in a Stormers jersey.
4 Jannes Labuschagne – 7 the young Lion played very well again and he has certainly provided Straeuli with a lot to think about, being more of a grafter his contributions may be not as extravagant as a Matfield poach against the throw but inevitably as, if not more important.
3 Willie Meyer – 7 “oom Willie” probably had his best match for the Springboks and his driving and mauling combined with real “steel” up front put the Springboks on the front foot.
2 James Dalton – 6 Bullet was all right although not as feisty as in the first matches, he was kept pretty busy by the Puma front row. His lineout throwing was uncharacteristically wayward but extenuating circumstances might apply – not an excuse though.
1 Ollie Le Roux – 6.5 very strong in the scrums the man who played his 50th test can be satisfied with his outing against very strong opposition.
16 Daan Human – 5 was buckled by the Argentineans when he and Faan replaced Ollie and Willie and as this is his first “big time” game he will learn and be wiser for the next time.
17 Faan Rautenbach – 6 similar to Human, he struggled in the scrum but his broken play was superb and he certainly upped his performance in this area.
18 Quinton Davids – did not notice if he replaced anybody, not intended as a criticism but the forwards did very well at times and played a tight match so they were all less conspicuous.
19 Joe van Niekerk – 7 similar to a certain Skinstad a few years ago, Joe deserves a place in the starting lineup with his excellent ball carrying ability and awesome running skills. A most valuable player on the bench, he might do even more for the full 80 minutes.
20 Johannes Conradie – 6.5 the young scrumhalf replaced an injured Davidson and his crisp service and good support play was rewarded with a fine try. A good scrumhalf is always ion the right place at the right time – he is a good scrumhalf.
21 Marius Joubert – did notice him replacing somebody at the end of the match but very little to comment on.
22 Werner Greeff – 8 what a brilliant debut on the test arena, the Stormers utility back slotted in the fullback position like a seasoned campaigner and the try after his magnificent take in the air was a classic in counter attacking. His long raking punts were the best of any player on the field and he will, on this showing, not embarrass any test side.
Match Rating – 7
The match was enjoyable with some great tries scored by the Springboks and the forward pack was awesome at times. However, the men in green went to sleep too many times and their concentration levels need to pick up, against the All Blacks or Wallabies the opportunities are far less and more difficult to convert. The Samoa test is great from another confidence boosting level, the Springboks should win this match reasonably easily but the cutting edge might not be quite there in the first match against the Kiwis. The young guys are learning though and even despite the fact that the “old manne” will tell them what to expect it is difficult to express the intensity and pressure of an All Black/Springbok test into words. One word will do – WAR.
|Upcoming International Fixtures|
just seems Wendell has been given a red-carpet ride to Test
selection. David Campese|
In the Ireland/All Blacks clash, "Seven Green...., Seven Green........, Seven Green......what is it about Seven that you don't understand?" Tappe Henning
After a 25-minute barroom brawl in Brive, "It was not possible for my players to turn the other cheek, as that was being punched as well," Pontypridd manager Eddie Jones
|Letters to the Editor (email@example.com)|
Good ol' days...
* The Springboks win three tests in a row and are unbeaten so far this season...
* An SA rugby team wins a World Cup and in the process beats both New Zealand and Australia in the same week...
* A NZ team gets thrown out of a nightclub and scuffles with bouncers in the parking lot...
* A Springbok rushes to the aid of his handicapped younger brother and wallops the bully...
Yup... The Good Ol' Days really are back!!!
Tom Marcellus reminiscing about Argentina's amazing and famous victory over the Springboks - albeit in the guise of the South American Jaguars - in 1982 brought back some wonderful (if somewhat painful!) memories. Yes, the great Hugo Porta scored all the points and in the process dropped, placed and scored, but I have always felt that the unsung heroes of that victory were flanker Jorge Allen - who tackled like a demon and turned over a lot of Springbok ball - and especially eighthman Ernesto Ure, who was a champion in the lineouts and whose driving stampedes always had the Bok defence on its back foot.
COLIN VAN RENSBURG
Jake White se o/21-span het die hele nasie weer trots gemaak op SA se rugby deur vir Nieu Seeland en Australië te klop in die o/21-wêreldbeker. Dit is nou SARFU se plig om toe te sien dat daardie talent nie verlore gaan nie. Die hele span moet betrokke wees by vanjaar se Curriebeker,want dit is ons toekomstige Springbokhelde hiérdie. Nie net die spelers nie, maar Jake White en Naas Botha ook. Dit sal meer goed as kwaad aandoen om Jake White weer as tegniese adviseur by die Bokke aan te stel en Naas as bestuurder en afriger van die losskakels. Voeg hierby Brendan Venter en Chester Williams en SA het die beste afrigtingspan in die wêreld. SARFU gebruik asb. hiérdie manne sodat die wêreldbeker terug huis toe kan kom!
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