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Rugby Forum - Vol 3, Week 12
Rugby Forum - Vol 3, Week 12
(The week that was, a South African perspective.)
25 Apr 2003
[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 http://www.rugbyforum.co.za/

Volume 3, Week 12 Rugby Forum

Editors Note

Brilliant! A few friends and colleagues asked if I would have the courage (?) to use the usual opening Brilliant! in this week’s column especially after one of the poorest South African performances to date. In fact the word K@k! sprang to most people’s mind and who can blame them? Fortunately (unfortunately?) this is an international publication and there are a lot of people who simply would not understand the meaning of this choice Afrikaans word even though it is not difficult to figure out! Hint – a no 2.

Firstly, the reason for all the unhappiness is the Stormers. For all those readers who did not see the game heard the result or read the column inches, they lost. That is nothing to be upset about - in a competition as tough as the Super 12, teams seldom complete the season unbeaten in fact it has only happened once, the Crusaders in 2002. The irk is with the style of their defeat. It was the worst performance from any Stormers side ever witnessed by this armchair critic and probably by any other critic for that matter. Everything went wrong and the more they lost the plot the harder they tried to regain it, and in doing so compounded the errors to the point of ridiculous. We all hope that this kind of display will never be repeated again, no matter “what it takes”!

After Saturday’s match between the Stormers and Reds yours truly was very fortunate to attend the press conference (thank you to those kind people who deem these ramblings fit enough to qualify for press accreditation!) and during the winning team’s Q&A, the assistant coach to the Reds, Adrian Thompson stated a very interesting fact. Australian teams play all 4 SA sides straight after the other and they also prepare differently for them than what they would do for matches against the Kiwis. True, SA teams play a different game to the Kiwis however his next remark caught me by surprise, he mentioned that they rarely have hard physical sessions and that they prefer to relax and concentrate on skills and moves etc. and later on it struck me that he might have divulged a state secret. The Australian sides are more skilful than South African sides; they k now that, SA teams know that and worse, they know that SA teams know that they know that!

Of the many matches over the weekend, the Sharks managed by some stroke of divine intervention to win a match with only about a 1/3 of possession. Well done to them. Butch James managed two pinpoint kicks for great tries and his conversions and penalties were better than Hill’s, providing the Sharks with a vital away win. A headline mentioned something about Putt and puking and I don’t know if it was a play on his team’s performance or a dish prepared by a dodgy waitress called Suzie, but then she is pro-South African although h is accent might have confused her. Anyway, the match was of poor standard and befitting two teams who are struggling well below the pacesetters of the competition. A win is a win though but the same was said after the Brumbies match…

The Cats were feeble and the only good or bad thing to come from their display was a sudden increase in the old style barber’s business for bad haircuts! Springbok captain? I can see the Doc spinning in his grave! Jokes aside, Bob Skinstad sported an imaginative Beckham (a few seasons ago) mohican hairstyle and if only his team could display the same daring and imagination in their real jobs, playing rugby!

The coming weekend is week 9 of the Super 12 and the time is running out for semi-final positions however it looks to be sown up by the Kiwis anyway unless the Waratahs can sneak a few more wins. The Brumbies are first up and it being a local derby the Waratahs will probably fold, if history is anything to go by they are due a defeat. The Brumbies are playing three of the current top 4 in a row after Friday so they desperately need this win to be in any contention. For the South African sides it is too difficult, the Stormers host the Blues and since they can only get better there is a small chance of victory, nothing less will do before a reprieve from their supporters. The Bulls are up against the Reds and with Joost back should be more formidable. Overseas, the Sharks face the defending champions, Crusaders and the Cats the Chiefs and although the latter should win their match this could be another embarrassing weekend.

A question was raised in the letters as to where the Springbok form guide is, well it is kind of difficult to compile it every weekend with so few stand-out performances. The players seem intent on playing themselves out of contention but another “form book” will come in a few weeks time. Do not hesitate though to send me your selections and motivations, what about a “who should not be selected for the Springbok team and why?”

Good luck to our teams over the weekend, they need it!

Lucas

lucas@rugbyforum.co.za


Visit www.rugbyforum.co.za for statistics, all the quotes and an archive of previous issues

A Man Called Aub by Tom Marcellus
Aubrey is not a name that you come across much these days, and mercifully so. In fact, I'm sure that if I was to stumble upon a downtrodden wretch bearing that name, I would immediately write him off as a dribbling mummy's boy – quite clearly not fit to even clean the boots of a strapping oke like me! Even in the old days, when dubious names like Cyril and Cecil were dime a-dozen, parents were considerate enough not to handicap their sons with "Aub", and I can think of only 2 rugger players worth mentioning who bore that name.

The first was the renowned Natal schoolmaster, Aubrey Samuel Langley, who did much to establish the oval game as the winter sport of choice amongst Natal schoolboys at the turn of the century – often, no doubt, following an unsettling glimpse of his cane, which he brandished with tremendous enthusiasm and dexterity. As time passed, A. S. evolved from a fire-eating Midlands schoolmaster into the much-revered and much-feared principal of Durban High School, whose corridors he patrolled into a ripe old age, ubiquitous cane in hand (naturally), and impressive 'tache all a-bristling.

An imposing figure and a fine player in his own right, Langley had an almost pathological loathing for soccer, and he was wont to summarily dismiss any rebellious young lout who had the temerity to refuse his suggestion to play rugger, as a vile "soccerite thug" (much to the belated approval of this arm-chair correspondent).

The other unfortunate bearer of that handle was a one Aubrey Hodgson, who donned the colours of the Wallabies in the 1930's and who was, if possible, even more colourful than the redoubtable A. S. It is said that the all-conquering 1971 British Lions met up with Aub, then an old man, on their way to New Zealand, and enjoyed him for the vibrant character he was and obviously always had been. It is said that, during the gathering, that old chestnut of the appalling incidence of thuggery in modern rugby cropped up, upon which Aub merely "smiled a far-away smile".

No wonder…….

Now good ol' Aub had played against Phil Nel's "Greatest Springboks", as the Greytown farmer and his side also merrily made their way to the Land of the Long White Cloud, during that momentous season in '37. But Aub, being a good Aussie bloke, was not the type of fella to be mightily impressed by mere reputation, and he played a key role in knocking the tourists down a notch or 2 in the second and final test, which, to this day, is remembered by many as being the dirtiest test match ever played.

The story goes that the Boks were in sublime form in the first half of the test, and, oozing the class that was later to see them vanquish the All Blacks, they promptly racked up a 26-nil lead by the end of the first half. But our mate Aub and his grizzled cronies from Wagga Wagga and Porpoise Spit had other ideas in the second half.

From the moment that the Bok scrumhalf, Pierre de Villiers, was laid out by a blatant kick, the match erupted into a succession of bar-room brawls, with Aub playing a defining role, amidst the hullabaloo. Afterall, it was "Awesome Aub" (as the press later dubbed him) who had come up with the rather novel tactic of, having secured possession at a lineout, charging towards De Villiers, and then suddenly handing the ball over to the bemused scrumhalf. Needless to say, this feigned generosity was immediately followed by a barn-storming stampede by Aub and the rest of the Wallaby pack, as they rucked over the hapless De Villiers and whichever Bok forward was chivalrous and foolhardy enough to come to his help.

At one stage in the game, Aub and Harry Martin, the young Bok debutant, traded blow after blow on the touchline, with 30 000 aghast spectators looking on, barely a rabbit-punch away. A memorable photo of the brawl shows the Bok front-ranker, gloves up, anxiously awaiting the next hay-maker from the spindly Aussie fighting-cock, whose comfortably belligerent pose and jutting jaw seem to confirm clean-cut young Harry's worst suspicions – that the Aussie no. 8 just may have done this once or twice before!

Not surprisingly, the Boks, wild-eyed with indignation, forgot all about the test match, about scoring tries and about other similar trifles, and allowed the Wallabies to notch up 11 points in the second half without reply. But, it must be said, the Boks learned their lesson from "The Battle of Sydney Oval", and never lost their self-control again, even when faced in the weeks to come with those woolly mud-infested giants across the Tasman Sea.

The success of Nel's team has often been attributed to the imperious form of its great players like Craven, Brand and Louw, the soothing influence of the skipper, or the family-like spirit within the squad. But don't underestimate the 40-minute contribution of those 8 crazy Wallabies. And don't ever, ever underestimate a man called Aubrey.

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Finding a Cure for S.A.R.S. by Desmond Organ
This article could quite easily have started with a statement as to why South Africa will not win the World Cup, or it could simply have listed the ten reasons why the early announcements by Rudolf Straeuli were naďve. Instead let us focus on what the real reasons for the ailment known as “South African Rugby Syndrome” and why the failure to address the causes and to focus instead on the symptoms is paralysing the game of rugby in South Africa.

Almost a year ago to the day I wrote an article on the recommendations that were in all likelihood made by the Accenture Consultants. Carrying on from that analysis has come a realisation that the recommendations made to SANZAR and SA Rugby would have had similarities and differentiators. It is often said that experiential learning is the greatest means of knowledge transfer; I have my doubts as to whether this has been occurring in South Africa.

Prior professional experience offers the ability to present what I believe is the “framework” that was recommended by the consultants and also the degree to which it has been implemented. The lack of specific publications in this regard is part of the protection of the strategic knowledge capital of SA Rugby and I doubt that many people outside of SA Rugby have had access to it. This does not prevent analysis of the alarming number of symptoms that exist that give cause for concern.

At the heart of the recommendations would have been the concept of a Business Capability Blueprint or what most people know as an Organisational Framework. This would highlight the areas that are critical to the game in terms of Infrastructure and Operations, quite simply put it is a one page blueprint that documents the strategic intent of an organization and the components that drive it’s success or profitability. Remember after all that rugby is no longer a Saturday afternoon pastime; it is a professional endeavour with all its benefits and pitfalls.

The most important component would be what Consultants refer to as Corporate Governance, or simply put the structures, rules, relationships and decision making structures that enable a complex business to survive and thrive in a highly competitive environment. Corporate Governance in South African rugby has gone through a massive set of changes in the last 10 years. We have moved from the pitfalls of a divided and highly segregationist apartheid system to a representative system that is yet to prove its success or sustainability.

Perhaps there is some truth to the idea that one of the reasons that we were so successful in the past is that the system that administered rugby ensured a plentiful supply of skilled and capable players that were in many ways able to overcome the other nations in the amateur game. Not so in the professional arena where organizational excellence is paramount. South Africa is no longer dominant because we do not have the professional structures and governance that England, New Zealand and Australia do.
If we do not address this France, Ireland and a few others will leave us at the bottom of the pile.

South African rugby has moved from a 22 member combined SARB and SARU system in 1991 to an executive branch of 26 members in the amateur branch and a 15-member board in the professional branch. What is most alarming is that only one of the 4 large professional Provincial Provinces are represented and that there are parallel structures for both SARFU and SA Rugby which include 4 levels of hierarchy and control.

Worse still, clubs and the amateur game are represented through the SARFU executive that elects members to the board. The clubs were the traditional strength of the amateur game. If they are to be replaced by the concept of professional regional teams then there has to be more representation from the professional regions. The lack of involvement at the executive level of the big Unions and the successful strategies of the Stormers and Sharks is alarming. The English have continued the club structure through professional structures and strategies. There are enough black holes in the current structure to thwart the successful implementation of any long-term strategies. There is no player representation and the lack of clarity on whether a club or regional structure will be the future feeder scheme is undermining corporate governance.

My understanding is that there are only 4 external directors with professional business experience and as far as I can recall Rian Oberholzer is the only member with extensive World Cup organizing experience.
How many of the Board members share the same values, visions and aspirations? The professional successes of the Sharks and Stormers are regional successes that do not fit into the current structure.

Clear roles and responsibilities, individual and collective performance measures, incentives, the definition of competencies, accountability, clear direction, effective decision-making, transparency and succession planning are the hallmarks of effective corporate governance. If these are not embodied in the structure of the game at a central level then it is almost impossible to implement a successful operating model in the broader game as a whole.

Next week I will look at the degree to which these core requirements are included in the Organizational Framework that I believe South African rugby has defined as being central to its future success. As a means of encouraging debate I will list the areas below in the hope that readers offer some insights during the course of the week.

South African Rugby – Organizational Framework

Business Model
Internal and External Stakeholders
Brands and Competitions
Organizational Capability
Customers

Core Business Areas
Game
Coaches
Player Development
Statistical Evaluation
Conditioning and Preparation

Business Operations
Marketing Management
Competition Management
Player and Game Management
Commercial Management

Support Services and Infrastructure
Public Relations
Communications
Financial Management

The Springbok flyhalf? by Vinesh Naicker
It was interesting to see last weeks comments about Andre Pretorius and Butch James from his manager and the webmaster of the Sharks website respectively.

I wouldn’t normally respond directly to feedback, because I’m not interested in entering into a debate. But I will indulge this time, mainly because I suspect that Pretorius and James are going to be battling it out for the Springbok flyhalf position.

Let me start by saying my comments about Butch James were a bit harsh but have to be taken in context. Firstly, in no shape or form do I ever profess to take down match statistics or analyse them. At the end of the day I know you can torture whatever conclusions you want out of them anyway. What I say here are just my impressions and my opinion. If you don’t agree with them that’s fine, they are just here to provide another perspective. If you did agree with all my opinions there would be no point in reading this stuff.

Secondly, my views are as biased as everyone else’s. I’m just offering you a different bias from your normal one. As a case in point, Michael of the Sharks exposes his own biases by alluding to the (statistically unsupported) stereotype relating to Fijians, Samoans and Tongans and the way that they tackle.

Thirdly, in regards to my not congratulating the Sharks or any other team on their adequate performance in the Super 12. The fact is, I tend not to comment on the average. If a team performs adequately should they be congratulated? These guys are professionals and their job is to run, kick, tackle and pass the ball at a high level. It should hardly be cause for comment when they actually do so. I don’t expect my boss, or anyone else, to stand at the door and congratulate me on an adequate days work every day and I certainly hope no one else does.

So to the subject of flyhalves. I don’t think it is Butch James ability to tackle that makes him defensively weak. Despite his noted tendency to shoulder charge, he is a much stronger tackler than Mehrtens, McRae, Pretorius or Koen. The reason I think he is defensively weak are twofold. Firstly, in defence he tends not to remain in the flyhalf channel. As Michael noted in his e-mail Butch tends to rank quite highly in his teams tackle statistics, more so than most flyhalves I expect. It’ is because, on defence, he is quite often not only at flyhalf, but centre and out on the wing. It takes a pretty well tuned defensive structure to accommodate someone moving around like this. The fact that the Sharks have given away over 30 points a game this season indicates their defensive systems aren’t that spectacular.

Secondly, he is a very eager defender ala Robbie Fleck and tends to rush up in defence to make ball and all spot tackles. If the rest of the team doesn’t move up as quickly it tends to leave a big hole in the defensive line. See that 30 points a game thing above.

However, his tendency to stand flat has offensive advantages and so on the plus side he creates a lot of opportunities for his backline. His two cross field kicks against the Chiefs last week led to tries which won the game. His wingers probably wouldn’t have had so much time and space if he had been standing deeper. He has also gotten over “second year slump” which and is more confident.

Pretorius was something of a wunderkind last year but his overall form this season in the Super12 has been ordinary and he seems to be suffering from second year slump.

Second year slump seems to be a common phenomenon in Super 12. Some new star rises and does marvellous things in their first year only to find that other teams have worked them out in the second year and they no longer have the time and space they once had.

The other flyhalves, just don’t seem to be in the running. I will be surprised if Derick Hougaard gets enough exposure to push for a Springbok jersey given how far into the season it is. The fact that he will continue to have to share game time with Louis Koen will exacerbate this. Koen is a fantastic goal kicker but hasn’t demonstrated a great ability to ignite a backline in the last few years.

The Stormers have been chopping and changing flyhalves during the season and no one seems to have really settled in to the position. A lot of this has been due to the injury toll they have suffered and helps to explain why their Super12 campaign this year has been so fractured. Greeff has done an adequate job in recent days but I think his preferred position would be at fullback.

In the two glimpses I have had of Kennedy Tsimba he hasn’t impressed me. I think he is still struggling to come to terms with the speed of Super12 and won’t even be a blip on the Springbok coaches radar for at least a year. (Is he even eligible???)

It’s too late to try Brent Russell at flyhalf as once again he would be time-sharing with James. He also seems to be a serious contender for fullback.

So at the moment it seems the Springbok flyhalf would be either Pretorius or James with either Greeff or Russell at fullback and the other two on the bench. But hey that’s just my opinion.

Double challenge, France vs. Ireland by Giampaolo Tassinari
After the end of the recent Six Nations, perhaps to sell more newspapers, someone involved in Italian rugby thought to talk about a RWC boycott. Personally I do not think neither John Kirwan nor the FIR (Italian Rugby Union) are serious when they threaten to boycott next Autumn’s Rugby World Cup in Australia.

In Rome’s headquarters people know perfectly their non-power inside the IRB and therefore they are aware of their scarce weight to put pressure in the topic decisions taken by the Union’s governing body. Italian rugby is in such a bad health that cannot afford to boycott anything at international level, let apart the calling off of next summer scheduled tour to North America as long as Wales called off its journey to play in Fiji.

Italian rugby need to be tested at every level to improve and grow day after day, minute after minute. Of course this news was spread to the four corners of the globe just to be put in the headlines. After Italy’s win against Wales one of the most topic discussions has been if the Azzurri can repeat the feat against the Welshmen next October in the RWC and many said “we can” and “we shall do everything to reach an historic play-off”. And now many of those people would like to boycott that same tournament. Rubbish, come on, let’s try to be serious sometimes. Rugby’s hungry is fast growing in Italy despite being a soccer mad country. How many people outside FIR would prefer not to play in the RWC?

And now to the cups. Somewhere someone wrote that “avenge must be put cold on the table”. And so Munster did in the Heineken Cup. This time Neil Back’s hand did not help the Tigers that deservedly lost the match. After the miracle of last January against Gloucester in the Thomond Park “Cathedral”, this time Munster murdered the powerful Midlands side. Another English victim for the red jerseys, though. It was a match of two halves. In the first an error-ridden show bored the spectators. Too many passes went to the soil and also Tim Stimpson’s well known goalkicking skills came to a halt for he missed three penalties in the first half. In the first forty minutes only a successful penalty goal by Ronan O’Gara was recorded on the match sheet. But then after the interval both teams began to play better and in fact Booth scored a try for Leicester that went forward 7-6 in the score. Unfortunately for them Munster in the final quarter scored two lethal tries either with O’Gara or scrum-half Stringer to put the results beyond any reach. A blessed hand was given by Leicester utility back Austin Healey playing only his second match after the famous injuries.

Healey can play in all positions in the back-line without excelling in anything. Another scalp is cut thus for Munster. And within two weeks we shall know if Toulouse will take their own avenge or not against Munster. Toulouse won handsomely 32-16 against Northampton. The Frenchmen are a very powerful side and would like to regain the trophy won only in the opening season of this tournament in 1996. Northampton perhaps was still under the bad-influence of last week’s Powergen Cup final match loss meeting. Meanwhile Leinster provincial side resisted Biarritz final comeback and won 18-13. O’Driscoll’s XV played and tackled superbly and Dublin’s Lansdowne Road atmosphere did the rest.

The huge surprise finally came on Friday night when Perpignan went to win at Stradey Park against Llanelli. 26-19 was the final score . The visitors’ task was even easy when after few minutes Llanelli’s blind-side flanker Dafydd Jones was sent off by referee Tony Spreadbury. Jones was guilty of kicking Perpignan’s scrum-half Loustau in the head. The Catalans, we must not forget, have a superb coach like former French-national team player Olivier Saisset. In the French league this season Perpignan had some troubles and Saisset’s head was asked by many but at the end the coach remained. Perpignan has a great privilege: to field almost an unknown side with many interesting players. Goutta, de Besombes, Konieck, Sid etc are all common players not considered at major level. These new men could really become a serious threat for any future opponent.

In the Parker Pen Challenge Cup semi-finals first leg Wasps and Saracens won their home fixtures whereas in the Shield Castres destroyed Pau and Petrarca Padua lost in front of its faithful supporters against Caerphilly from Wales. After leading 10-9 until the beginning of the final quarter, Petrarca went off rails very quickly and three unanswered tries were scored against it. So the feast ended on the field to go on outside of it where a huge after match functions were celebrated with lots of people. Madejski Stadium’s final in Reading (England) now is a dream for Petrarca Rugby. Eighteen points of deficit are not an impossible task for Ambrosio’s men but this season is one of the most controversial of the club’s glorious history. One of the few Petrarca’s players to be singled out was mercurial Mirco Bergamasco who played at outside centre that is his natural position whereas in the Italian side he usually plays at fullback.

Who thought that the Eagles could have a nightmare in Madrid against Spain for the RWC repechage were completely wrong. Tom Billups’ XV won easily 62-13 scoring eight tries led by Llanelli’s Hodges who went over for the first American’s try. Another story would have been if the Russians could play. But that is another story.

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Super 12 Log & Weekly XV
Team Played Won Drawn Lost Points diff For Against Points
Blues 7 6 0 1 135 270 135 30
Hurricanes 8 6 0 2 41 243 202 29
Crusaders 7 5 0 2 46 225 179 26
Highlanders 7 5 0 2 46 181 135 22
Waratahs 8 4 0 4 -13 253 266 22
Brumbies 7 4 0 3 44 242 198 20
Sharks 7 3 0 4 -37 175 212 16
Stormers 7 3 0 4 -40 183 223 14
Bulls 7 2 0 5 -66 196 262 13
Cats 7 2 0 5 -50 207 257 12
Reds 7 2 0 5 -59 171 230 12
Chiefs 7 1 0 6 -47 185 232 10

RF Super 12 XV:

15 Leon McDonald (Crusaders),14 Stefan Terblanche (Sharks), 13 Tana Umaga (Hurricanes), 12 Rico Gear (Blues) , 11 Rupeni Caucaunibuca (Blues), 10 Carlos Spencer (Blues), 9 Jason Spice (Hurricanes), 8 Toutai Kefu (Reds), 7 Jerry Collins (Hurricanes), 6 Marty Holah (Chiefs), 5 Paul Tito (Hurricanes), 4 AJ Venter (Sharks), 3 Richard Bands (Bulls), 2 Corey Flynn (Crusaders), 1 Tony Penn (Hurricanes)

Join the SARUGBY news and discussion group for the fastest sarugby news and the most intense debates around the South African game. Send a blank email to sarugby-subscribe@yahoogroups.com


Quotes
I'm not just trying to cause political problems here, but the way our fixtures have been drawn is both unsafe and unfair. John Kirwan on Italy's threat to withdraw from the RWC

An immense festival of rugby awaits for the sixth edition of this formidable competition. A whole world of rugby in France. This result is a dream. A French Rugby Federation statement after the country won the right to host the 2007 RWC

It's an attitude-adjustment "klap". The Super 12 humiliates you if you are not up there week in and week out. Gert Smal

We can't play like we did against the Hurricanes because a class side like the Brumbies will beat us. Actually, anyone would beat us if we continue playing the way we did last week. Brendan Cannon

When you have been to the top and you have played in front of huge crowds, it can become a little difficult to motivate yourself to play in front of stands that are nearly empty and I don't think I could have carried on playing Vodacom Cup indefinitely. Johan Erasmus

They did not win the match. We threw it away. Corne Krige

Super 12 Fixtures
(Previous year's score in brackets)
Date Home Away Venue
Fri 18 Apr Crusaders (37) Sharks (34) Christchurch
Fri 18 Apr Brumbies (11) Waratahs (19) Canberra
Sat 19 Apr Chiefs (36) Cats (25) Rotorua
Sat 19 Apr Hurricanes (10) Highlanders (19) New Plymouth
Sat 19 Apr Stormers (6) Blues (25) Cape Town
Sat 19 Apr Bulls (12) Reds (48) Pretoria

Letters to the Editor
Hi Ed,

I agree with Toutai Kefu that our teams are too inconsistent, but apart from the mysterious Sharks I strongly believe that the administrators and not the players are to blame. This is not just a SA problem, just look at the Reds, they have their 3rd coach in 3 years and they now find themselves at the bottom of the log! At least SARFU has gone a long way in trying to remedy this by appointing the four coaches for 3 years. I predict a much better performance from our teams in the next 2 competitions.

The Bulls are the best example. In the past, their own union administrators gave the team no chance with their bickering and infighting. By appointing an outsider in Rudy Joubert and moving all of their home games to Securicor Loftus, they have ensured that the Bulls will not be at the bottom of the log again this year. (Although some people believe that Rudy is only riding on Heynicke Meyer's winning Currie Cup team, I would like to point out that only 8 players in the starting line-up play their rugby in Pretoria. Remember the Bulls also won the CC in '98 but ended bottom of the S12 log in '99, so give credit where credit is due.)

Inconsistent results? Yes, but the foundations have been laid for the future!

Thinus Meyer
Cape Town

Dear Lucas,

Amazing!!! No Springbok form guide? I do not blame you, after the performances of our rugby teams this weekend I see us moving down the ladder to 6th spot. A suggestion to Corne Krige stay injured for the rest of the season the players are not committed, disciplined and have no heart. How is it possible that the Stormers lose a match against 14 players? In all my 55 years of watching rugby have I seen such an inept display of South African rugby, and that includes the Sharks win!! The only two players from your form guide who did not let themselves or their teams down are the two who never played on the weekend - Joe van Niekerk and Rob Kempson.

Michael's comments about James and his tackles, maybe he should have another look and re-analyse what this undisciplined so-called rugby player is up too. He may make the tackles and not get cards handed out, but are these tackles effective, do they stop the player etc. With the exception, on occasions Andre Snyman is the only back-line player that can run straight, come back Whip, Lawless and Oosthuizen.

At this stage I am not sure we are going to look good for the rest of this season and that includes the RWC '03. Hell, I have never been so despondent in years.

Still a Springbok and Stormers supporter
Dev

Hi Lucas

SA rugby in turmoil

First I wish to make one thing clear and is that I'm a passionate SA rugby supporter despite living overseas but after this weekends results in the Super 12 where 40 points plus was scored against SA teams with the exception of the Sharks (also bloody lucky to win against the bottom of the table team just by the way!) I now have to admit that they are utterly and completely incompetent to compete with the likes of NZ and Australia in the Super 12.

The Reds playing with 14 men played clever and planned rugby, did exciting moves something that not only the Stormers but SA rugby as whole can only wish to achieve. Honestly, what are these teams even doing in the Super 12 aiming to end at the bottom of the table once again! The worst of all, every weekend you sit and watch hoping that a miracle will happen to all of them to start playing exciting rugby and win for a change, instead of this boring pattern they play, then just to see that the SA teams do not have even a clue what to do? To Rudolf Straeuli, mate best of luck for the RWC, you will need this belief me!

Some questions and I know there are millions? Does anyone in any SA team even think of something different during play? SA teams will run themselves to a stand still against tight defence but nobody will even think of trying something different to get passed this like a little rubber kick through, a little kick over the defence line, a high kick to the corner for the fast wingers?

I watched the highlights of an Italian competition (more or less same as Currie Cup) and I can say today without a doubt in my mind they will beat the living hell out of any SA Super 12 team. Why? Because they show real passion, they think what they do, their moves show it, they create space, they do the unexpected. They are well trained and play exciting rugby. Something that cannot be said about SA teams, not at all!

I honestly belief SA rugby players are spoiled, get toO much money, are lazy, do not have any passion for the game and their respective teams at all. I had the opportunity to speak to a very prominent SA player recently. This player is the best in his position due to his experience but he spends more time outside the team than on the bench during games. He told me that he does not know where he stands with management of his team or wether he is part of the RWC mission? How can talent be treated this way and just ignored?

My prediction for the Springboks in the next RwC? Will be out early and obviously not see the Semis. Early exit! just like the Cricket!

Frans

Hi Lucas

Can it be true that the Reds are at the bottom of the log only because they have not played against the SA teams?

The performance from the Stormers seems to indicate this. It seems our teams have become, as it is known in cricket, walking bonus points. The Stormers have certainly not played rugby, it was as if they thought they should only turn up at the park and would have won the game.

If you watched the match between the Blues and Bulls it was evident that the Blues did not have any respect for the defense of the blues as they kicked all their goalible penalties to the corner flag and tried to score tries instead of going for the three points on offer.

What is wrong and what can be done to make our teams even just competitive, we would like them to be world beaters again but lets start with humble beginnings.

Regards

Gordon van wyk

Hi Lucas

Gatvol vir K#@K Rugby en Krieket

Net dit, ek is gatvol vir ons sogenaamde prima donna rugbynarre, krieketnarre en ringmaster refs en umpires. My vrou sę ek gedra my soos 'n vark wanneer ek met baie goeie voornemens myself voor die TV sitmaak om entertain te word met 'n goeie dosis sport. Kort voor lank is dit nie meer sports nie en hier kom die vark ter sprake, mens, hulle dish vir ons die grooste klomp bollie op, hulle veroorsaak pyn en lyding en huismoles, ek is tot lus en bliksem iets, dalk die hond. Ek kan nie stilsit nie, ek is op en af, heen en weer, maar soos 'n opregte smartvraat bly ek kyk en hoop en hoop en hoop, maar helaas, die donners karring aan soos die blinde laerskool se 4de spannetjie. Geen bleddie guts, geen visie, geen fokus, geen pride, geen vernuf, geen kennis van die reëls nie, fokkol, net, wel ons het ge-try houding en 'n vet salaristjek, maybe next time deliver ons okey, Huh!?

Hoeveel vernedering kan ons nog vat? K#%k man, ek dink ons moet almal, en ek bedoel almal, wegbly van 'n paar wedstryde en kyk wat gebeur. Miskien is daar dan nie so baie dollars om die outjies mee te betaal nie en die atmosfeer om die veld behoort 'n goeie boodskap aan hulle te stuur. Ek dink in elk geval, om die vrede by die huis te bewaar, om maar af te skaal en die geploeter wat die ouens opdis en dink dit is sport in hulle maai te stuur. Miskien is dit eerder sports en dit kan ek myself nog aan meedoen, dankie.

Koos
by

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Oh go on Lucas, it was a Brilliant effort by the SA teams!
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