Rugby Forum
  Volume 1 - Week 11  
Editor's Note
Brilliant!  My word, what a weekend! Who would have rightly predicted such congestion at the top of the table after week 11 of the Super 12 competition? Unlike the Premiership in England where the winner was well known months before the final round there are three teams out of contention, three certain of a place in the semi-finals and an unbelievable six teams vying for the fourth spot!
Welcome to week 11 of RF, this is the biggest issue to date and one where I stick my neck out and select a Springbok XXII. The selection of a Springbok team is an occasion that every supporter cherishes, firstly to hear who is in the team then to initiate the critiques, counter arguments and debates at any subsequent formal or informal gathering. Harry Viljoen will keep most pundits happy with his 30 man squad however there are only so many positions where substitutes and apprentices can be accommodated. Be sure of a few surprises, as with his previous selection Mr. Viljoen will include a few youngsters worthy of a test place in a season or two to come, I believe the term is called “blooding“.
The Super 12 is not even dead and buried yet and already the international stage is being set. The keenly awaited Lion’s tour to Australia will be the main attraction but do not forget another famous team, the Barbarian’s tour of Britain. The famous black and white hoops rekindle memories of one of my hero’s and quintessential “Barbarian” Gareth Edwards, the scrumhalf many believe to be the finest rugby player ever and the one who scored “the try”. Great players have donned the illustrious jersey and their legacy will inspire a new crop of “greats” to similar feats. Look out for players like Jonah Lomu, Bob Skinstad and Joost van der Westhuizen to name but a few.
The final round robin weekend for Super 12 has arrived and I hope that your favorite team will reach the semi-finals, get out there and support your teams!
Ps: For all new readers, please mail to include or remove your address or to request previous copies of RF.

Letters to the Editor
Dear Editor
From France, many thanks again for a Forum that is getting more and more interesting. You have two jewels in Mark Foster and Tom Marcellus. I really enjoy their articles and humour.
After reading TM about Butch James, and hearing some other weird things about this flyhalf,  I am starting to look forward to see this guy play. Not that I support violence on the field,  but I simply have to see if what they say about him is true!
Thanks as well for the accurate and interesting match reports. On this side all the little details are read and absorbed with great interest.
Keep up the good work!
Helen Albrecht- Esperandieu,  Metz,  France.
Thank you Helen, nice to see that RF's appreciated on the "continent"!

Dear Mr Editor,
The garrulous debate surrounding comments and articles made about certain rugby teams and/or players have dragged our ultra modern constitution into the fray.
In a democratic society, freedom of speech is regarded as one of the corner stones of the said ideology. Since it is a fundamental right prominent in most constitutions including ours, how come there is always uproar, outrage and a fair bit of criticism leveled at the excerpters exercising the most basic of rights?
The comments made by Nick Mallett in his guest column for Planet-Rugby regarding the Bulls are not the first and will certainly not be the last of this kind.  The critiques of these columns and their utterances are devoid of the true meaning of free press and the influence on the average man on the street. The cardinal point in reading the offered material is to form an opinion, educated or not and enter in debate.
The lack of debate in our country is in stark contrast to Britain where the strong and sometimes fanatical press ensures that the average man is “armed” with more than enough educated opinions to form his own. This in turn develops a culture of debate and the susceptibility of another’s views and opinions. The crux is not for all to agree but to respect one another and to do so in good faith.
The sooner we encourage and apply a propensity for debate and exchange views and opinions our own understanding of a subject will improve not to mention the standard of our education.
P. Blackwell

Dear Ed.
The Super 12 team you chose is interesting.  I do however think that your locks lack mobility so please see my choices.
1.          Nic White
2.          Anton Oliver
3.          Greg Somerville
4.          Johan Ackerman
5.          Troy Flavell
6.          Johan Erasmus (Captain)
7.          Phil Waugh
8.          Vahafolau (not sure of spelling see Highlanders No 8)
9.          Byron Kelleher (Strongly overshadowed Gregan in matchup)
10.        Stephen Larkham
11.        Jonah Lomu
12.        Paul Steinmetz
13.        Tana Umaga
14.        Breyton Paulse
15.        Christian Cullen
16.        Matt Burke
17.        Trevor Halstead
18.        George Gregan
19.        Andrew Merhtens
20.        Mark Andrews
21.        Totai Kefu
22.        Dean Hall
Hmmm, a few good selections, Kelleher was certainly better than Gregan during their epic battle however over the season, Gregan has been consistent and more often than not brilliant. As to the locks, I agree with the mobility factor but with loosies like Vos, Smith and Rassie somebody needs to do the donkeywork. Phil Waugh is a very good player, he's been in my team on numerous occasions but played second fiddle to Smith in their little one-on-one a few weeks ago hence his omission and hey you must have a loose forward with dreadlocks nowadays!
"Too much chocolates..." by Mark Foster
Well what do you know! After an 11-week slog the Super 12 competition’s final standings is a riddle best solved by the lateral thinking of De Bono and the mathematical genius of Einstein, I have neither so let’s not even go there.
The results over the past weekend was somewhat surprising, the usual home ground advantage (yawn, yawn) surfaced except in the case of the Chiefs. I would like to pause here because this team, perennial punch bags of the competition surprised friend and foe with their performances this season. I am a fan of their style and Deon Muir is, in my mind one of the players of the tournament, a great pity they find themselves in a spot of bother for the final match. They must win with 5 points to reach the semi-finals and standing squarely in their way are the indomitable Brumbies. The way the Chiefs played against the Hurricanes epitomized their underdog status and the same will apply Friday, come what may for South Africans match 62 will be the most keenly anticipated result of the competition.
The other matches were sort of all right, the rugby was not brilliant, stirring stuff neither horrible, boring epics maybe I’m suffering from a mild bout of over exposure, too much chocolates, even the best Swiss variation will eventually make you sick. Like most of the players we also need an off weekend to recharge and invigorate the attention!
The Reds, in official 4th place hinted how much they really want this title as a fond farewell to captain and demi god John Eales. A warning to the Reds, sentiment is a bad emotion where sport is concerned, many teams have found to their detriment it is not worth playing for somebody in particular as the focus is on the person and not the job (remember the Currie Cup final for Mac, Teich, Jouba and King Henry?). A similar attitude might prevail amongst the Brumbies as coach Eddie Jones will be leaving for higher coaching honours. We all know and admire the Australian professionalism; this is a good opportunity to witness it in action.
South African teams are enjoying an unbelievable renaissance in a competition historically dominated by Kiwi teams. If the gargantuan permutations (and the Cape press) can be believed we will see three SA teams in the semi finals, if that happens Elvis is alive… hallelujah! I for one are a bit of a non-counter if you know what I mean, show me apples in a basket and I can tell you how many there are, as it is there are very few apples in the basket and we should not be counting them as yet.
The poor Kiwis, the unthinkable may happen and to discard my own apple theory, the counters out there predict that the semi-finals may be contested, for the first time in history without a team from the land of the silver fern, shock horror!  Well, too much of a good thing…
National team selection is another hot topic under discussion and Harry Viljoen with his new Australian assistant coach (Tim Lane) and Andre Markgraaf will be selecting Springbok edition 2001 on Saturday. Predictions and team selections is a great hobby however unlike Nostradamus I prefer to leave these things to good old hindsight, never been proved wrong before! I do believe though that with a squad of 30 players, the selection will be justified as far as form is concerned then it is up to combinations and the all important game plan.
The rugby rumour, a custom employed by various opposing media men has once again reared it’s ugly head and straight talking Cats coach Laurie Mains has bluntly accused the bleating of Bok coach’s personal adviser and Springbok media manager (Mark Keohane) as the root of the so-called rift in the Cats side rumour. If this is true and as a columnist it is hard to do the journalistic integrity checks, we are faced with a serious breach of trust and honour. I suggest, in the true fashion of African politics that a “conmittee” be set up to investigate any corruption and foul play charges...
A final thought before the weekend’s rush of activities begin, I would like to quote the old master of subterfuge Koen Nienaber (if you have not heard of him it is testimony to the man’s mastery of his art!) “rules may be written in the rule book but ultimately the rules are what the referee say they are, sela”. 

RF's Springbok Team Selection Team Selection
Would you believe it, the Super 12 is drawing to a close and of course the age-old debate will resurrect, who should pull the coveted green and gold over his head? A Springbok rugby supporter not involved in this time old practice is, well... not a real Springbok supporter! The old days were easy, a real Springbok supporter drank Castle, tattooed the flag on his face and sported a bag full of biltong. Today, fortunately we have different beer to drink, tattoos are old and Woolies are selling Boots&All biltong! Unchanged through time however is the selection of your team and to debate the “correct” selections vociferously.
To break a tradition is of course akin to seven years of bad luck and having had more than enough of that (bad luck) here is the Rugby Forum Springbok squad. The criterion for selection is everybody that played in the Super 12, injured or not except where broken limbs rules out any quick recovery (although with the recovery time of today’s players that is not even a problem anymore!). Here goes, with motivation and players who came close.
1.         Robbie Kempson  
The strong man from the Stormers has been in good form and without Cobus Visagie his experience will be invaluable to the pack. Cobus Visagie will walk into my team if and when his played a few matches. It was quite clear how valuable a player he is during his absence. Ollie is the versatile impact player we all know and love, we will keep him at what he does best, make an impact.
2.         John Smit 
Undoubtedly the best hooker in South Africa, his driving play and ball skills is par excellence, he needs to work on his lineouts, as this is a major headache for all hookers and an absolute vital phase of the game. Second man is Dalton, more commitment and experience you can’t find anywhere else, a big plus is his motivational presence and his throwing into the lineouts is perhaps the best in the country, he lacks fitness though but will be a very good impact player.
3.         Willie Meyer
One of the best players in the Super 12 and he only gets better with age. No competition and also nobody close. Kempson and Ollie can double though.
4.         Albert van den Bergh
On our hard fields he is a must, his agility in the lineouts secure valuable turnover ball and his speed around the park is invaluable in creating pressure on the opposition, a proven contender at test level. Victor Matfield has been a revelation and will be in my Bok side again as an impact player until he gains confidence at that level and with time will take over Andrew’s role in the team.
5.         Mark Andrews
The man’s prowess, influence and presence are legendary and few have the attitude the “veteran” brings to the pack. Undoubtedly an asset to any team he plays for, solid in the lineouts, irreplaceable during kick offs and has remarkable agility around the park on defence. Close call is Johan Ackerman, a great driving forward with a menacing presence but unfortunately contending in a crowded position.
6.         Johan Erasmus
Need I say more, probably the only uncontested player in the squad. His skills are beyond comparison and his defence fearsome.  A must in any World XV. Charl van Rensburg has done some sterling work for the Sharks but once again South Africa are blessed with awesome talent in this position.
7.         Andre Venter
Another player whose having a great Super 12 and one of the guys you would rather play with than against. His combination with Erasmus borders telepathy and as a workhorse he's tireless. Corne Krige is in the fray, his fetching abilities and creation of turnover ball, so important in modern rugby is essential and it’s a pity that he can’t be accommodated because few players has his guts and commitment. An outsider is Warren Britz, his speed to the breakdown and brilliant linking makes him a very valuable player, a bit like Josh Kronfeldt. Unfortunately vying for a position crowded with world-class players.
8.         Andre Vos
Vos, as part of the best loose trio in rugby has played more than his part to establish that reputation. His work rate is phenomenal, tackling intimidating and he's a proven contender on the international stage. Bob Skinstad is not yet at his formidable best but his deft creative touches and linking game is important to create a different dimension.  Unfortunate for him the Stormers’ pack never afforded him the chance to fully exhibit his remarkable skills. Given time he may yet again upset the applecart.
9.         Joost van der Westhuizen
Experience can’t be bought and he has been there done that and bar the Super 12 he’s a proven winner. Scrumhalf is a problematic area and was it not for my choice at flyhalf I would have opted for Niel de Kock, this young man has the best service in the country and his speed around the field coupled with good vision will make him a great in the mould of Garth Wright. Craig Davidson is also very good at the moment and these two are our future unfortunately you can’t throw away experience and experiment with a rookie halfback pairing. Looked what happened to Gaffie Du Toit and Dave von Hoesslin.
10.         Butch James
The best there is available and the only player with an entire Super 12 under his belt. Butch is a very good player indeed and the only problem is his defence, not the lack there of but the style he adopts. Harry will no doubt sort this out but pressure does strange things to the head. His kicking is solid and his deftness of hands has made Trevor Halstead look very good indeed. Gaffie Du Toit is my second choice.
11.         Stefan Terreblanche
The man has speed and all the skills of an all-round footballer, like Cabous van der Westhuizen’s grandma he can score tries and his defence is excellent. As a player who has doubled on fullback and centre he can add a few different dimensions to the backline. Dean Hall is a very good player but unfortunately has been riding on the big wave of one try against the Highlanders. His attacking is excellent but his awareness and defence is not the best and there is vulnerability under the high ball. Likened to Lomu but my friends, after seeing Lomu I can say he has a fair bit to go to be mentioned in the same breath as the Big Fella. A great player for the future is Friederich Lombaard, who has plenty of speed and a good defence, he needs experience and within a year or so will be right up there.
12.         De Wet Barry
The creator in the Stormers’ backline and one of the straightest runners around, his defence is solid and vision excellent. Japie Mulder comes close as well as Trevor Halstead but for pace and abrasiveness Barry is the man, he is also young enough to play plenty of tests. Jacobs is a prospect but needs to gain consistency in performance.
13.         Deon Kayser
The man is playing great rugby at the moment and must be the form centre in South Africa, his pace, good hands and wonderful linking play makes him ideal to be paired with the hard running Barry. Robbie Fleck is the next best choice and a good performer in the Springbok jersey. He needs to rediscover the spark that made him one of the best outside centres at RWC 1999. Grant Esterhuizen is not quite the finished article and his lack of vision under pressure to make the correct choices count against him. Andre Snyman is a sentimental choice but at this level it takes a while to gain the old skills back but he will and at his best there is none better.
14.         Breyten Paulse
Superbly talented, we all know what this man can do given some space. His covering at the back is of great help to the fullback however he must become more involved in general play and his defence is not bad but not up to international standard. He only needs the ball in a little bit of space though… Wylie Human and Stefan Terreblanche are the contenders but they will have to be more spectacular to oust the little man from the Cape.  Both are great finishers and good defenders but might find themselves in the cold until injury or a really bad drop in form affects Breytie.
15.         Thinus Delport
The best runner from broken play in South Africa and he scores great tries, ask the All Blacks, his defence can sharpen but he’s very solid under the high ball and his positional play is excellent. He needs to impose himself on the game more and get involved in the phases leading up to tries. Montgommery’s probably the next best available but some of his blunders will future prominently in “Sport Blunders – The Video”. He is a good footballer and has a lot of experience but it is time to play to his potential so ably displayed in 1997 and 1998.
Captain:         Johan Erasmus
The only player sure of his position in the team and with proven leadership skills, his stature amongst friend and foe is very high and he’s respected everywhere. An all-round nice guy he will be perfect for the demanding PR role the Bok captain faces every day.
The team with seven reserves is thus the following:
1.         Robbie Kempson
2.         John Smit
3.         Willie Meyer
4.         Albert van den Bergh
5.         Mark Andrews
6.         Johan Erasmus (c)
7.         Andre Venter
8.         Andre Vos
9.         Joost van der Westhuizen
10.        Butch James
11.        Stefan Terreblanche
12.        De Wet Barry
13.        Deon Kayser
14.        Breyten Paulse
15.        Thinus Delport
16.        Ollie Le Roux
17.        James Dalton
18.        Victor Matfield
19.        Bob Skinstad
20.        Niel De Kock
21.        Robbie Fleck
22.        Gaffie Du Toit

Rugby Quiz
  1.     Which English player was sent off during their tour of South Africa in 1994?
  2.     Who was only the third Springbok to captain his country on debut?
  3.     What team did Wales play against to celebrate their centenary?
  4.     Which two players holds the world record for appearances at lock?
  5.     Who scored the most tries for the Lions in one match?

(answers at the end)

Match Reports

Hurricanes 27 - Chiefs 51
The all Kiwi affair between the Hurricanes and Chiefs promised to be a thriller. Both teams are blessed with great backlines, a lot of speed out wide and very good loose forwards. The game did not disappoint and what a good exhibition of rugby it was.
The Hurricanes started like a house on fire and within 3 minutes Paul Steinmetz scored an excellent try after a few phases and some great driving support from the Hurricane forwards. The following twenty minutes was a delicate chess match with little chip kicks and some flowing phases from both teams to gain ascendancy and outwit the opponent’s defence. 
The Chiefs had a chance to score through Johno Gibbs, who had an excellent match but he lost the ball going over the tryline, on reflection it seemed justice after some interference running was missed by Paddy O’Brien. The Chiefs’ first points came only after 20 minutes and the their confidence was given a small boost with a penalty from Hill, the Hurricanes though struck back through a Lomu move on the blind side. Excellent defence by Rhys Dugan and Roger Randle kept the big fella off the scoreboard after the TV referee adjudged a foot in touch. Both sides enjoyed some good chances but a few small errors cost them scoring opportunities. 
The Chiefs scored an excellent try 5 minutes from the break through a move that originated 50 meters out when the ball was recycled a few times and Keith Lowen burst through. The Chiefs, now on a roll seem to shift to a higher gear and after great work by Holler and Randle Reihana finished a 40 meter sweep to score two tries in two minutes. The Hurricanes were under severe pressure after an excellent kick through forced Cullen to carry over in goal, the subsequent scrum Muir, Duggan and Reihana combined on the blind side to score a well worked try. The Chiefs led by 17 points at the break and the Hurricanes were left stunned by a magnificent first half performance.
The second half the Hurricanes was forced to play catch up rugby and with Jackson back at flyhalf the Chiefs played a superb tactical match to ensure the pressure remain on the Hurricanes. The errors crept into the ‘Canes play and the kickable penalties were coolly dispatched through the post by Jackson to keep the scoreboard ticking over.  The Chiefs were good in defence and their fourth try, scored by Reihana came after a forced turnover from a mistake by Jason Spice. 
The Hurricanes managed to hit back with yet another television decision and scored only their second try. The game was now a free for all and both sides staged wave after wave of attack in an excellent display of free flowing, running rugby. Spice scored after yet another television decision, the technology certainly earned its keep in this match! The Hurricanes now looked like they could threaten the huge lead after a Darryl Lillee try that begun from their own 25, with 10 minutes left the Chiefs lead was only 11 points!
The final 10 minutes was a war of attrition and the sides produced a sterling effort to maintain the quality. Somehow the Chiefs manage to rise to the occasion, with fine defence they kept the Hurricanes at bay and for good measure Jackson slotted every penalty within distance. Collins scored a final try on full time for a magnificent victory to a courageous Chiefs outfit. 
Men of the match:      Deon Muir, Johno Gibbs and Bruce Reihana
Blues 7 - Brumbies 35
The ACT Brumbies travelled to Eden Park with one goal in mind to collect 5 points and head the Super 12 log. The mission was accomplished and against the Blues it was definitely not mission impossible. The big disappointers of the season were simply outgunned by a superior outfit, simple as that.
The First half was dominated by some of the best rugby the Brumbies played since their opening match against the Crusaders. Wave after wave of attack created space out wide, their tactics were superb and finely controlled by George Gregan who handled the ball an astonishing 100 times during the match! Larkham signalled the intentions with an early slice through the Blues defence for a well executed try. The Brumbies were clearly set on winning  for every opportunity was used to tick the scoreboard over with Mortlock enjoying mixed success. The second try, a glorious effort from Andrew Walker was a blueprint of the Brumbies’ rugby model; relentless pressure, intelligent multiphase moves and more patience than Job that prompted the Kiwi commentators to remark that their play resembled a “training run” and right they were. The Blues were lucky to only trail by 25 points at half time, they defended their hearts out and very few teams would have absorbed never mind overcome the kind of pressure they were under.
The second half was more of an even contest and the Brumbies actually looked mortal, mistakes were made and the turnover ball allowed a spirited Blues revival. They managed to score their first points after sixty minutes in the match and it was a fine forward effort from veteran, Craig Dowd. The Brumbies after a brilliant first half looked mediocre but fine defence and turnovers of the Blues ball mainly by George Smith created enough opportunities to score two more tries and collect a vital bonus point. There was however too many errors by both sides and the half never really fulfilled the potential of the first.
The Blues’ forwards did not impress and to perform well against the Brumbies it is essential to put them on the back foot. The Brumbies deserved the victory for playing high-octane, classy running rugby, the brand their renowned for and one gets the feeling that they are beginning to peak when it matters most.
Man of the match:    George Smith
Waratahs 25 - Crusaders 22
The Waratahs managed to keep their impressive home record intact as they defeated the champions at the Sydney Football Stadium. The conditions was not conducive to running football as the players slipped on the soggy surface, both teams however tried their best to run the ball.
The first half was a very tight affair with the first points only coming after 36 minutes, the teams spent a large amount of time between the two 25 meter lines and scoring opportunities were few. The conditions and high error rate was an ideal situation to pit two of the best flankers against each other in the fight for the loose bal, Scott Robertson and Phil Waugh had a battle royal.
The Crusaders, again without Mehrtens did not play well enough to win this match and Matt Burke’s unusual misses with the boot made the score look far closer than the actual game was. The Waratahs although they scored a superb effort through Luke Ingham lacked the same authority they had in the beginning of the competition. The “unknown quantity” is only a luxury for the first few times then the other teams catch up and thoroughly analyse the play.
The Waratahs may have a very, very small chance of reaching the semi finals but somehow the permutations are too great, they will have a big influence on fellow Australian outfit, the Reds’ chances when they meet next week. The Crusaders are in similar territory and the team they can prevent from qualifying is the Highlanders.
Man of the match:    Scott Robertson
Bulls 23 - Stormers 34
The Bulls Stormers clash was played in front of a very large crowd in Pretoria, the Bulls win last week or the presence of the Stormers increased the attendance by 30,000 people! The punters did not see the home team win or any sparkling rugby for that matter. For the record the Stormers collected 5 points (contrary to what Joel Stransky thought!) and form part of the 25 point crowd hoping for modern day miracles to play in the Super 12 semi-finals.
The match was highlighted by a superb hat trick from whom else but Breyten Paulse, the small wing scored an intercept, an assist and a finishing off try to display his all round skill. The man for once was looking for work and as soon as he does this his name can be penciled in on the score sheet because his vision enables him to be at the right place with perfect timing to boot unfortunately his fellow players take a while to realize this.
The Stormers’ forwards did not dominate the exchanges again but against a spirited Bulls pack it was going to be difficult anyway. For all their losses this season, the Bulls’ forwards never disgraced themselves against any of the opposing teams. James Dalton led ably and could mature into an excellent captain at this level, he inspires with example. The Bulls however let their suicidal tendencies prevail once again and the two gift tries to Paulse and Barry effectively sealed their fate.
The Stormers were not at their best as captain Corne Krige remarked afterwards but the men from the Cape know how to pounce on any opposition mistakes, a quality that ensures a try or two per match. Rugby however is about slogging it out on attack and defence and the way young Adrian Jacobs sliced through the backline augurs bad news for the weekend ahead. Take nothing away from the Cape bred centre, he has an uncanny nack of running the right angle at pace and there are few people around who can do that.
The Bulls struggled with hotheadedness, something I’m sure James Dalton will address if he remains captain against his old comrades this coming weekend. Tap penalties is a good method of advancing ten meters when you are 50 out but right in front of goal the defending side is far more focused and aware so the 3 points should be taken. The match was very much a ding-dong battle and an extra 3 points here and there could have changed the entire outcome.
The end of the day the Stormers had more points than the Bulls although with injuries to Skinstad and Louw the price for victory could have been a heavy one. Both teams have the ability to upset the two dominant South African sides next week, a big weekend for South African rugby.
Men of the match:    Neil De Kock and Breyten Paulse

Reds 33 - Highlanders 22
The second best match of the weekend saw a spirited Reds side overcome the Highlanders at Ballymore, Brisbane. For the Reds their win kept hopes alive of presenting captain and Wallaby great, John Eales with the only trophy eluding his illustrious career. The Highlanders, also in with a semi-final shout played second fiddle to a team fast reaching their full potential.
The Reds’ under new coach McBain has had a topsy turvy season and injuries to key players threatened to undermine their campaign. The form of Latham was also a cause for worry and last year’s player of the competition only lately displayed the form everyone’s become accustomed to, in this match he turned it on.
The game was slow to start and uncharacteristic errors revealed a fair bit of tension and nerves amongst the players. Byron Kelleher after his previous brilliant performances did not enjoy a successful afternoon and his backs were placed under severe pressure with his weak service. The Reds capitalized and their forwards with Foley prominent dominated the early exchanges and the backs were given quality ball from which to create tries. Ben Tune obliged and his devastating runs almost resulted in two tries but it was the Latham magic that did the trick and the fullback dotted down twice to race the Reds ahead. The Highlanders were 17-0 down and threw caution to the wind, attacking from everywhere and in the process piling the pressure upon them. A try by Simon Malling before the break left the Kiwis trailing by 10 points at halftime with everything to play for in the second.
The second half was as entertaining as the first, the video referee denied the Reds forwards a try and a Foley tackle foiled a try by Josh Blackie. The Highlanders did manage to convert pressure into tries and Tuilevu picked up two well deserved tries, he does a lot of work this winger but sometimes are a bit over zealous to get involved and that costs him and his team, his try-scoring abilities are beyond doubt though. The Reds were not intent on losing this match and a try by Roalini and accurate kicking from Flatley, who had a good game, ensured that they always stayed ahead of the men from Otago.
The Reds performed well on the day and with the forwards and Tune, Latham (bar injury) Herbert and Flatley on song they might just sneak a win past the Waratahs next week. The Highlanders are one of the many teams relying on a host of permutations and a 5 point haul to advance to the semi-finals, an unlikely prospect against the Crusaders, hell bent on retaining All Black jerseys.
Men of the match:    Chris Latham and Michael Foley

The log after week 11: 





Pts Diff

















































(In the scenario where teams finish on the same amount of log points, the point's difference determines who will proceed to the semi-finals.)

Opinions and View


  • Well done Bulls!!! You deserve it and I will (and I am sure I am not the only one) still be a loyal Bulls supporter for as long as rugby is alive. Once a Bull always a Bull.     Karen 
  • Pity the Bulls could not follow up a wonderful win with another in front of a huge crowd at Loftus or were most of the support for the Stormers?    KJS
  • I would like to add my support to Michael regarding the announcer at Loftus, the man is a disgrace and his actions are an insult to all Bulls supporters.     Lood
  • Bad luck Bulls, the best to be done now is to ensure that next season is not such a big disaster as this year or they need to be removed from the competition as a franchise.    AJ
  • Please will someone tell the Sharks that when they play the ball and not the man, they actually win!!!!!!      Brian Andrews
  • Joel Stransky may be responsible for arguably the most important kick in South African rugby history but as an interviewer he stinks! His insistance on calling everybody "mate" in a unidentifiable accent is both unprofessional and highly annoying. I know this man is regarded as a demi god however his critisism of teams in after match interviews are embarresing and his startling lack of facts (he ommitted to notice that the Stormers scored four tries and secured a bonus point) does not endear him to anybody. He should look at the successful use of Phil Kearns as post match interviewer and like Phil keep it simple and easy.    Peter S.
  • The Appointment of an Australian as assistant coach is only to be encouraged if he is the best man for the task. Like any business and Springbok rugby is a business, the best personnel should be appointed. After a quick glance at South African resources and options one will realise why Harry was forced to turn elsewhere. I am of mind that we have good enough players but lack innovative coaches to extract the best out of the players, men of vision willing to take somebody out of the doldrums and create a great. Gysie Pienaar will always be remembered by me for "discovering" Henry Honiball, please Gysie can you not "find" another great flyhalf somewhere in the Shimla's backyard?     Johan Du Plessis
  • The latest round of Super 12 matches was still punctuated by silly and basic errors, how on earth do you justify these kind of errors so late in the competition? The players are earning vast sums of money according to an article in the Cape Times and it dumbfounds me how bad they seem to be at their jobs. What is even worse is the reluctance on behalf of the team management to do something about it. Hats off to the Blues for their measures against Topaki who swore at referee Spannenburg barely 5 minutes of his arrival on the field.     Hasheem
  • A lot will be said in the next few weeks about the Springbok squad selection, armchair critics and experts alike will have a mouthful, I would like to add my penny; the most important factor is a solid front five as the scrumming and driving has once again rose to prominence, a hooker that can throw straight, a scrumhalf that can clear super quick and a flyhalf who can make decisions and dictate. Without those ingredients the recipe will flop no matter how good the lineout jumper or quick the centre is. The basics are simple, get the key positions right and the rest will look and play like Springboks.    Anthony
  • What a weekend we are facing, the Stormers will not see a semi-final, the Sharks will be having them for breakfast based on their performances of the last few weeks, it seems the boys down in Cape Town can only perform in front of at least 30,000 people no wonder they are disappointed that Wellington can only hold 15,000!    Shane from Durban

I decided that if I was going to compete with the best I had to be as aggressive and get the psychological edge on my opponent without going over the top    Wade Dooley
Rugby football is a game for gentlemen in all classes, but never for a bad sportsman in any class    Motto of Barbarians Rugby Football Club
Foul play and cheating are the two factors that can make the game unplayable... the All Blacks are guilty of both... international rugby players are amongst the most physical yet literate and I believe they know exactly what they are doing.    Clem Thomas, 1993
Of all the teams in the world you don't want to lose to, England's top of the list. The English know no humility in victory or defeat... If you beat them, it's because you cheat. If they beat you, it's because they've overcome your cheating. Good teams learn how to win and lose with graciousness and humility. England hasn't learned that lesson yet.     Grant Fox, 1993
Sport and chivalrous competition awakens the best human qualities... it helps to strengthen the bonds of peace between the nations     Adolf Hitler, 1935

Super 12 Barometer
The Super 12 team we should choose in case the Six Nations compiles a similar 1st XV for a match-up on neutral ground of course. What do you think? - Ed
  1.         Robbie Kempson   
  2.         Michael Foley    (replaces Anton Oliver)
  3.         Greg Somerville    
  4.         Mark Andrews   
  5.         David Giffin    (replaces Johan Ackerman)   
  6.         Johan Erasmus              
  7.         George Smith   
  8.         Deon Muir    (replaces Andre Vos)
  9.         George Gregan
  10.         Stephen Larkham   
  11.         Bruce Reihana    (replaces Joe Roff)
  12.         Paul Steinmetz   
  13.         Daniel Herbert    (replaces Tana Umaga)
  14.         Roger Randle     
  15.         Chris Latham    (replaces Christian Cullen)

Answers:    1.      Tim Rodber    2    Francois Pienaar    3.     New Zealand    4.      Ian Jones and John Eales    5.     JJ Williams - 6 tries






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