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|Volume 2, Week 37|
‘Valies’ rule! Incredibly there has been a radical shift of power
in South African rugby - back to the North! As unexpected as seeing Jimmy
Hoffa make an appearance at a Trade Union meeting the last two years’
finalists, Western Province and the Sharks were knocked out of the running
of the 2002 Currie Cup finals. Unlike poor Jimmy we are sure to see their
bodies back again next year!|
The final of the Currie Cup will be at Ellis Park and congratulations to the Lions and the Bulls for overcoming massive odds away from home to win their respective semi-finals. The Lions are playing sublime, exciting 15-man rugby and the team; a mixture of youth and experience is producing the type of rugby spectators love to watch. Take nothing away from the slog and grind of the big men up font, they are setting a strong platform for backs like Pretorius, Muller, Daniels and Fourie to excel in.
The Bulls have rediscovered their identity with what many people believe to be archaic rugby but they are contending a final and that alone should rub critics noses in the dirt. Much has been written about young Hougaard, he deserves the accolades with a few match-winning performances. His tactical appreciation is beyond his years and his temperament is fantastic. Backed up by a monster pack willing to do some damage the quality ball presented to him makes all the difference.
Who will win the Cup on Saturday? As with all finals it is a difficult call to make so the tried and tested, best out of three coin tossing method supplied me with the answer. The winning team will be the Lions, 3 heads to zero tails and since this was the most convincing coin toss victory ever I have to publicly endorse it! The Lions are at home, they have a balanced team, a great flyhalf, a brilliant captain and an air of excitement in their play. The Bulls are predictable, away from home and the injury to Vic Matfield is a real concern. However at the end of the day it is all about guts and determination, both teams were not “suppose” to be there so there are hardly favourites or underdog tags to be pinned. At the end both teams took their chances magnificently and need to do so one more time to walk away victors.
The shift in rugby power, the Bulls and Lions will contend in the Merit ‘A’ and the u/21 finals, is not only restricted to South African rugby. Much was my surprise to see two North Island teams contending in the NPC final this weekend? Not having seen any of these clashes my “loyalties” lie with Auckland, a team that use to symbolise the way rugby should be played with their magnificent performances in the mid nineties. Sad luck to Canterbury and my friend Black Toddadder although he would be quick to point out the difference (?) in the Canterbury and Crusader teams!
One thing that created more of a stir this week than Madonna walking naked through Hyde Park was the release of excerpts from Chester Williams’ biography. One of the strange facts about the book was the identity of the author, Mark Keohane – current Springbok Communications Manager, during his time as a Cape Times reporter he never shirked away from controversy and sensation. This is a tough one, nobody but Chester will know how he felt and was treated by various people during his distinguished career and it is very difficult to criticise without reading the book and viewing everything in context. RF will report back as soon as the book becomes available for public reading.
Another tough one is the composition of the Springbok team for the tour to Europe; Rudolf Straeuli has done well so far and has restored confidence in the processes and selections that became swearwords under the Viljoen reign. The team should hold very little surprises and the test team to run out will probably be close to the following: Greeff, Paulse, Hall (if fit else Loubscher/Lombaard), Joubert, Fleck, Pretorius, De Kock, Van Niekerk, Erasmus, Krige, Labuschagne, Matfield (if fit else Venter), Meyer, Smit, Sephaka. The Springboks are facing tough encounters in Marseilles and London and readers will be pleased to know that RF will be attending the matches at Murrayfield and Twickenham to bring you a first hand and probably biased account of the tests!
This weekend there will be excellent rugby on show at Ellis Park so you 'Valies', get out there and support the final!
|Visit www.rugbyforum.co.za for statistics, all the quotes and an archive of previous issues|
|Roll on, Saturday by Tom Marcellus|
|Despite the fact that I am by no means a fan of either the
Gauteng Lions or their blue-jerseyed rivals from north of the Jukskei
River, I must confess that I am looking forward to this weekend's
confrontation between these two implacable old foes with great relish. And
that's not just because I'll be able to gaze down onto the unfolding drama
from amidst the splendours of the Press Box, with its hot grub and
well-stocked Frigidaire, but because it promises to be a match that
displays not the glorious interplay and delicate rapier-like touches that
have infused the modern game over the last few years, but rather the
mongrel-inspired forward exchanges from which our rugby has, for over a
century, drawn its strength.|
Ellis Park will, most definitely, not be a place for those who tread lightly in their Sportabouts, as these two monster Eights, with barely a single rooibaadjie between them, grapple, parry and struggle for ascendancy up front – a battle that, surely, will decide where the grand old Cup resides for the next 12 months.
Indeed, what I found most refreshing about both of the semi-finals last weekend – despite the fact that the results deprived 2 truly magnificent old Bok forwards each of the opportunity of a triumphant last hurrah – was that in both games the evidently more talented or expansive team succumbed to the bloody-minded, dogged virtues of a Plain Jane XV. Muscled and determined, yes, banana-fingered and grim, for sure, but homely wallflowers nonetheless. Panache and verve were tossed to the jackals, to be replaced by grizzled rucking and a hefty boot. And, naturally, that last-mentioned point cannot be underestimated, as each of the adversaries on Saturday will, once again, be able to rely on the well-honed kicking skills of a prodigious flyhalf.
Now I am the first person to roar out his approval at every Brent Russell shimmy, Bobstad unload, or Marius Joubert sidestep – afterall, Danie Gerber's epic demolition of the Poms in '84 still has me occasionally spluttering into my beer with admiration – but there was something noble on Saturday in the way that these two sides got down to the business of gradually dismembering their more adventurous opponents, who, in the end, could quite simply not match their single-minded application.
Sure (as I said), the kicking thing cannot be underestimated, given the talent that will be on show. The adolescent Blue Bulls pivot, still fresh from his Matric animal husbandry class down in the Boland, has been in irresistible form over the last couple of weeks. No doubt, I share with thousands of rugger fans a burning eagerness to find out whether that embattled Union has now finally found its anointed one, the true, long-awaited successor to Hendrik Egnatius. And as yet another Hougaard kick sailed effortlessly through the air at Kings Park last Saturday, I can think of one resident of the nation's capital who must have afforded himself a chuckle of nostalgia, having also set the world alight as a spindly nineteen year-old, all those years ago.
"Vlaggies om hoog", as the great Gerhard Viviers would have roared. Yep, here's to a great Final in two days' time.
In that oppressive environment, within a short spit from the delights of Bez Valley, which of those two rugged packs will wrestle that little bit more vigorously for possession, which No 10 will be able to maintain his composure as thousands of hoary voices, gruff after a few warm-up polisie-koffies in the car-park, offer their traditional warm encouragement?
Who can tell. But think of me, as I suck on another wet one, and the chicken curry dribbles down my chin and onto my corduroys.
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|D-Day by Desmond Organ|
of you may take offence at the use of a famous day in history being used
to describe events in South African rugby. Believe me, it is only with the
utmost respect for all involved in those events that I have taken the
liberty. Yet, in many ways the Springboks face a similar challenge as they
prepare to head off overseas at the end of another exciting Southern
Hemisphere season. We have been enthralled by the standard of the Currie
Cup, isolationists that we are, if one considers the problems that were
exposed during the Tri-Nations.|
This week I have attempted to do the impossible and analyze the comments, opinions and prejudices of the mainstream rugby media in South Africa. Why take on such a complex task, when you know that there is bound to be criticism? Well simply put, I can. One of the joys of writing for the non-commercial media is that you have a greater degree of latitude to express your heart-felt opinion without fearing the employment consequences. Now those of you that are regular readers of the weekly news at Rugby Forum will know that some have felt it necessary to respond with a great deal of emotion, the more the merrier.
During the course of the “reign” of Rudolf Straeuli, I have gone to great lengths to read and analyze the comments and views of the media. The purpose is to position myself with the facts from a broad spectrum of the media, thus eliminating several inconsistencies that are associated with individual writers. At the end of the semi-finals of the Currie Cup I completed a statistical analysis of the medias favourites during the course of the Tri-Nations and the Currie Cup. The purpose is to be able to present the team that the media believes will best serve South Africa’s interests at the end of the year.
The process involved identifying positive and negative comments about specific players. This is not as easy as it appears on the surface because very few rugby writers will openly admit that they criticise players. Believe you me; almost all of them have at one point or another during the season. I have also taken the liberty to give the Springboks that played in the Tri-Nations the benefit of the doubt; they are given additional credit for any comments that originated during the series. This is necessary to balance the difference between international and local rugby. It has also allowed several players to sneak into the chosen few.
Several journalists have harped on about the performances of individuals being dependant on the strength of the tight five; this too has been addressed in the case of those players that have suffered as a result of injuries to key players in their team. At the end of the day, the comments of Rudolf Straeuli are sufficient for a part-time journalist like myself. Players that are not fit will not be considered; that includes people who have played in the Tri-Nations with great success. Many of the problems that surfaced in the international arena continued to plague players and teams at home. The tackling techniques and support play horrors of the Tri-Nations continued to be at the heart of several of the below par performances.
There were some major surprises in the mix, as several youngsters took the opportunities that were presented to them. Far and away the most popular player is Jaque Fourie. He easily doubled the positives that were given to any other player and this includes taking into consideration the challenges of test ruby. By far the biggest disappointments were Breyton Paulse and De Wet Barry, closely followed by Bolla Conradie. Paulse and Conradie sneak into the team on the basis of potential and the lack of viable alternatives. The requirements of representation have also played a part, but this is part of South Africa’s ongoing strategy to take the game to all groups and to ignore it would be naÔve.
The list includes the top two or three players in order of popularity. I have moved some player’s positions to meet the requirements of the national team, if coaches can do it to win matches, so too can writers in order to gain the attention of the public. I leave it up to the reader to challenge my team and come up with alternatives. Finally I have chosen the group of 26 players that should go to Europe and this meets the requirements set down by SARFU.
15. Fourie, Greeff and Loubscher
14. Terblanche, Kayser and Paulse
13. Joubert, Esterhuizen and Botha
12. Jacobs, Muller and Keil
11. Hall and Pitout
10. Russell, Pretorius and James
9. De Kock and Conradie
8. Skinstad and Leonard
7. Van Niekerk and Wannenberg
6. Britz and Krige
5. Matfield and Venter
4. Labuschagne and Wentzel
3. Meyer and Carstens
2. Smit and Dalton
1. Sephaka and Du Randt
15. Fourie and Greeff
14. Terblanche and Paulse
13. Joubert and Fleck
12. Jacobs and James
10. Pretorius and Russell
9. De Kock and Conradie
8. Van Niekerk
6. Krige and Britz
5. Matfield and Venter
4. Labuschagne and Wentzel
3. Meyer and Carstens
2. Smit and Dalton
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|NPC finalists found by Vinesh Naicker|
weekend was an incredible weekend for sport. The first division
semi-finals were on and, as expected at the start of the season, the top
five positions on the table were taken up by the Super 12 franchise
holders. Wellington was the province unlucky enough to miss out on a place
in the semi-finals.|
Canterbury vs. Auckland
Canterbury, qualifying at number two, hosted Auckland, who had finished at number three. Canterbury had beaten Auckland during the round robin 18-11 but the match had been rain affected and Canterbury had not demonstrated the dominance one would have expected in that game.
The weather was fine this time, and right from the start Auckland took it to Canterbury, the Auckland forwards were dominant, with lock Bradley Mika along with ex-All Black prop Kees Meeuws making huge inroads into the Canterbury defence. The Canterbury loose forwards were also well beaten by their counterparts. In fact, the only thing that kept them in the game in the first half was the referee. Auckland were penalised about six times and had advantage played against them on a number of occasions. Everyone (except the Cantabrians) found it a bit hard to believe that Canterbury did not commit any infringements until the 55th minute of the game. Having said that, Auckland were lucky to have the video referee award them a try at a crucial point in the game, when it was obvious from the replays that flanker Justin Collins pulled another player back, to allow him to get to the ball first. That put Auckland out to a 26-16 lead which meant that Canterbury had to score twice with about 15 minutes to go. Canterbury did come back to score a late try and reduce the margin to 3 points but the game was already lost at that point.
Carlos Spencer, Aucklands erratic flyhalf, was at his brilliant best. His tendency to sometimes play like a headless chicken has harmed his international chances in the past, but on Friday night he constantly took the ball up to the line, regularly asking questions of the Canterbury defence with his guile. In the past Canterbury has had a rock solid defence but this year that honour has belonged to Auckland. Spencer and his inside centre regularly made inroads into the Canterbury defence.
After the game Canterbury supporters and management trotted out the excuse that their players were tired after the long season, that excuse is even more tired than the players were purported to be. Canterbury has got to have the most whingers per capita of any area in NZ. For years they would complain about that they didn’t have enough players in the All Black squad, now they constantly whinge about the people from other provinces whinging about the excessive number of Cantabrians in the All Blacks. So I guess its completely in character to whine on about how tired their players are.
The fact of the matter is that both Canterbury and the All Blacks have “squads” rather than “teams” of players and so they are rotated all season, as a result the players should be a lot fresher than they were last year. In addition, since Canterbury has 14 plus All Blacks, the NZRFU foots the majority of their wages bill and so they can afford to have a much bigger and better quality squad than anybody else. For years the “rugby who'res” of NZ have been flooding into Canterbury, because of their professional set up, and now because of increased chances of getting into the All Blacks. If, with their embarrassment of riches, they can’t get their squad rotation right, then whose fault is that? At the end of the day Canterbury were out-passioned and hence outgunned by a talented young Auckland team.
Waikato vs. Otago
Waikato qualified top of the table this year and so hosted Otago at home in Hamilton. Despite being the only team to beat Waikato during the round robin, Otago have looked out of sorts all year. They won six of their nine round robin games but have seemed to struggle in most of their wins.
Waikato, in contrast, have played an expansive high speed game all year. With David Hill out with injury, replacement flyhalf Derek Maisey, who hasn’t demonstrated much of a boot in the past, was expected to run all the ball he got. True to expectations Waikato played the game at high pace and to their credit Otago rose to match them. The two open-side flankers had great games with Marty Holah consistently turning over possession and scoring a try. His opposite got on the board with two tries as well. In the end each team scored five tries apiece with Waikato winning 41-37. Statistics will show that the big difference was goal kicking with Waikato slotting 7 from 7 and Otago only managing 5 from 12.
In reality though, the game was won by a combination of factors. Maisey mixed up his options brilliantly at flyhalf. He must have been practicing all week because he showed some great tactical kicking, Otago was as surprised as I was. The fantastic skills of the Waikato centres who scored two tries each was again showcased. The commitment of the forward pack was fantastic, epitomised by the captain and number 8 Deon Muir, whose bollocking forward drives and support play once again overshadowed those of his opposite Taine Randell. Waikato were always in control and the final score unduly flattered Otago. Waikato ahead 41-23, with 10 minutes to go, subbed off some of their players with a view to next week. Otago took the opportunity to score two late tries and close the gap.
The final between Waikato and Auckland should be a cracker. It is the first time that the two teams have played off in the final. With the South Island totally shut out of the final, it’s a bit bemusing to think that only three of the current All Blacks will be involved in the game which is considered the pinnacle of NZ domestic rugby.
The All Black squad to tour the northern hemisphere will be announced on Monday after the final, and my guess is that even if Waikato win the NPC final there will not be too many of their players in the squad. Auckland will only have a few too.
|Surprises? Hell no! by Mark Foster|
Currie Cup finalists were determined in two equally tough but totally
different matches over the weekend. Congratulations to the Lions and Bulls
for winning their respective matches, both away from home. The weekend
Cheetahs 29 v Lions 43
The first semi final was played in splendid sunshine and high temperature in Bloemfontein and the local team set about their business like a sprinter from the blocks. The two packs had a battle royal with the much-anticipated confrontation between Os and Willie the highlight. Free State enjoyed enough early possession to feed their dangerous backline. Predictably it was Tsimba that put the Cheetahs on the board with a few early penalties before the Lions’ Grant Esterhuizen managed to throw away a ball in the tackle only to see JP Du Toit scramble away to the tryline.
The Lions however weathered the storm and with some quality driving play managed to work the ball up field and after Jorrie Kruger ran over Tsimba the ball was recycled and Kleinjan Tromp scored an excellent try. Pretorius as is his want slotted the conversion and later a penalty before halftime to put the Lions 16-13 ahead at the break.
The Cheetahs again began powerfully after the break with Venter, Smith and Erasmus working like a pack of dogs however Wikus van Heerden and Labuschagne managed to tackle backward several of their forays. Tsimba again halved the scores with a well-taken drop goal and regained the lead after a Lions’ indiscretion. Andre Pretorius slotted another penalty to equal the match on 19-19. The match was extremely tense although the exhibition of rugby remained sublime and the first team to score one thought would win the match.
The two flyhalves traded penalties before a Willie Meyer inspired driving maul resulted in turnover possession but the clearance was unsuccessful. Jaque Fourie and John Daniels displayed some clever interplay and the young gem accelerated past Andre Venter towards the tryline before a pass back to Daniels and from him to the ever-present Tromp resulted in a brilliant try. Pretorius converted without any trouble.
The Cheetahs, to their credit fought back and with eight minutes to play CJ van der Linde barged over in the corner; Tsimba converted a very difficult kick to level the scores. Both teams then tried everything in attack and the quality of rugby was sustained after 75 minutes of battle however an awful mistake from Rassie Erasmus, who failed to field a high up and under from Jaque Fourie, allowed the precocious fullback to score an optimistic try, Pretorius did not miss.
The Cheetahs were back to the wall and tried to run everything and in such circumstances the inevitable happens, John Daniels intercepted a loose pass to seal the match for the Lions.
There were a host of brilliant performances, Juan Smith and Wikus van Heerden, Willie Meyer, Kleinjan Tromp, Jannes Labuschagne, Jorrie Kruger and Andre Pretorius were awesome but the man of the match and moment – Jaque Fourie.
Sharks 19 v Bulls 22
Cold and rainy in Durban is never pleasant weather and this was the case for the Sharks who disappointed their captain and legions of fans in losing to the underdog Bulls.
The weather allowed for a certain pattern of play and on the day the Sharks were not quite capable of dealing with it. Both teams’ forwards played good rugby and provided the necessary ball for the decision makers out wide. The difference was however that Derick Hougaard was served by all the experience of 79 caps compared to Butch James’ scrumhalf with none. Kevin Putt committed a tactical error in persisting with young Ryan Walker who was a bit out of his depth in this match. His options around the scrum were not good and he was quite flustered by the intensity of the match. The Bulls on the other hand remained true to their game plan and archaic as it may be, it worked!
The weather was a bit of a downer however it remained a thrilling match to watch and the last few minutes especially were extremely tense. The normally dependent Hougaard displayed a bit of nerves by missing right in front of the sticks but when it mattered after a late tackle by Ryan Walker, the young man slotted the winning penalty.
It was a sad end to a massive career for Mark Andrews and the disbelief on his face was testimony to the attitude that has made this man a legend of the game. Losing is not an option – it is something all teams playing with him will sadly miss. The performance of the evening was not from the young flyhalf but one of the old warhorses, Warren Britz - he was tireless on attack and gargantuan on defence.
The Bulls got it right at the right time and the victory will be one to savour.
|Just because you win games doesn't mean you shouldn't look at
changing the side. And that's certainly what we're looking at - improving
the side all the time. Eddie
I'm realistic, there's only so much I can do in three weeks with the squad, but it's a great opportunity and I'm determined to enjoy it and hopefully succeed. New defence consultant to the Springboks, Frank Ponissi
My plan is to retire from all rugby at the end of next season. I'm a very loyal person, and will finish my career where I started it, with the Blue Bulls in Pretoria. Joost van der Westhuizen
The primary responsibility of this position will be to provide executive leadership of the New Zealand Rugby Union through strategic initiatives, business acumen, rugby empathy and the overall development and management of an effective and efficient organisation that exceeds stakeholder expectations. Advertisement for CEO of the NZRU
Chester and I were always very competitive on the rugby field, but I was not aware he harboured such strong feelings towards me. James Small
That obscenity on the field did not shock me; I had been called the K-word many times in my rugby life. If I was going to let racial abuse get to me, then I was never going to succeed as a black rugby player in South Africa Chester Williams
F**k you, Laurie! When I come to breakfast first, I end up sitting on my own, but if I come to breakfast later, I'm expected to sit with the white guys. Why do we always have to make concessions? Chester Williams
He was not the best flanker in the country and he was not the kind of captain I took to. I had always thought he was too much flash and too little substance. Chester on Francois Pienaar
The Springboks, who are professional athletes, should be paid like pros, not like semi-pros. I've got the T-shirt and been there and done that with the contracts. I've had enough. It's a joke. Percy Montgomery
It has caused grown men to cry. Philip Gardner on the Currie Cup
Have we got the f*x#! heart? Do you want to see my f*x#! heart?! Nick Mallett after a Currie Cup final triumph to Dan Retief in 1982
When I played for the Springboks we had a golden rule: what happens on a Springbok tour, stays on that Springbok tour. I would therefore not be comfortable speaking out. Errol Tobias
Whether you are black or white, you have to prove yourself to your teammates and gain their respect. Errol Tobias
There are people in certain quarters who will no doubt call us chokers. Kevin Putt
I can't see the Bulls winning it. Mark Andrews
|WHY THE BOKS WILL WIN THE WORLD CUP: South Africa is destined for glory in Australia next year. To find out why, buy the new issue of SA RUGBY magazine, on sale now, or visit www.sarugby.com|
|Letters to the Editor|
Re: The Semi's
The first semi on Saturday was superb and however pleased I am that an emotional hope to see Andre Vos hold the Currie Cup high next Saturday is nearing fulfillment, I am sad that the Cheetahs won't be playing again this
How in Hell's name does the Cheetahs right to be one of the Super 12 franchises continue to be ignored by SARFU? Personally I face east every morning and offer thanks for the whole Free State cradle of incredible rugby players, and would you believe I'm a fervent Natal supporter?
The second semi was a hoot. The historical playing the brain dead! The Bulls came to play their Buurman Van Zyl patented 'Skop 'n Donder' rugby, which I'm sure even the soccer preferring grounds men at Kings Park knew they would adhere to at all costs. The vaunted Sharks were obviously unaware despite the plethora of modern equipment and aids they have available to them to analyse, dissect and plan with and plot an opponents demise. Too often through the season the Sharks displayed their carefully constructed zombie play, as they went the walk about of the brain dead. On Saturday they moved the ball wide once and scored. Did they try to copy that success again? Must have been advised against it by the Bookies! You'd think Putt, a scrumhalf
himself, would have noted that a novice was trying to dictate the play, but it seems the malaise is deeply entrenched. God defend the Sharks in the Super 12 next year and bu-gger New Zealand!
Congratulations to the Lions on pulling a Lazarus and a sincere well done to the Bulls for realising they have a historical pattern, sticking to it and achieving the success they deserved. Now just let Vossie hold up the cup,
after the service he's given to SA rugby he's earned it!
Re: Rugby 2002
Ek is nie een wat gou sal skree "I told you so" nie maar mense wat my ken sal getuig daarvan dat ek voorspel het dat die Blou Bulle naby die eindstryd gaan kom indien hulle nie die beker gaan wen nie. Daar is dit toe so. As ek dit nie mis het nie het ek dit ook op die forum voorspel. 'n Mens kan filosofeer en verskeie gadagtes uitruil en in hewige verskille betrokke raak maar ek weet hoekom daar so 'n ommeswaai in die Blou Bulle kamp is. Die persoon het eendag in my teenwoordigheid die stelling gemaak dat hy hou nie van verloor nie en dat as hy in 'n maatskappy inkoop, koop hy die beherende aandeel.
Die Blou Bul Rugby Unie kan kan bly wees dat die man hom by hulle geskaar het. Dit is net tragies dat hy as 'n dinnosaurus uitgeskel word deur die onkundiges van die bevolking. "An unasked opinion is a sign of stupidity" Dit daar gelaat. Ek is erg teleurgesteld dat my span gister teen die Bulle verloor het maar "some you lose some you win". Oor die Springbok span wat Roelfie gaan kies sal ek my ook nie verder bekommer nie. Die man doen dinge reg. Die Prima Donnas van rugby het ons hopelik verlaat en word die reputasie nie meer as maatstaf gebruik nie. Die betrokke speler wat sy skouer beseer, en vir die res van die seisoen nie verder sal speel nie, het ook die eerste keer op 'n rugbyveld seergekry, al die ander kere weet ek nie waar nie. Ek dink sy dae is ook verby.
Ek sien uit na Saterdag se eindstryd wat die Bulle gaan wen. Ek bekommer my ook nie oor die Springbok toer later vanjaar nie.
Re: Gelukwense uit die Kaap
Namens alle WP-ondersteuners wil ek die Goue Leeus en Blou Bulle gelukwens met hul prestasie om in die Curriebeker-finaal te speel. Natuurlik treur ons Kapenaars dat ons geliefde Streeptruie nie vanjaar daar sal wees nie, maar ons gun die uiteindelike wenner sy welverdiende glorie.
In besonder wil ek: My bewondering uitspreek vir die moed wat die Leeus se bestuur en afrigtingspan aan die dag gelÍ het om jong talent soos Jaque Fourie, Jorrie Muller en Andrť Pretorius in hul senior span in te sluit;
My verwondering openbaar met die hoogstaande gehalte spel wat spelers soos Jannes Labuschagne, Joe van Niekerk en daardie twee teenpole in ouderdom, Willie Meyer en Lawrence Sephaka, deurgaans gehandhaaf het;
My waardering uitspreek vir die skitterende wyse waarop die Bulle hul tradisionele spel vanjaar herontdek het.
In laasgenoemde verband meen ek dat die dryfwerk van die Bulle se voorspelers net so aanskoulik is as die aanvalle wat ander spanne se agterspelers loods. En wanneer die Bulle wel met skitterende aanvallers soos Jaco van der Westhuyzen agter slaan, maak die verrassingselement dit hoogs effektief.
Terloops, in vanjaar se Super-12 het Phil Kearns op 'n keer - toe Matt Dunning teruggeval het om 'n bal wat deur die teenstanders deurgeskop is, te gaan toeval - gesÍ: "What is it about a fat guy running for his life that makes the crowd go absolutely dilly?" My antwoord hierop is: Dis mos poetry in motion!
COLIN VAN RENSBURG
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