Rugby Forum
  Volume 1 - Week 14  
Editor's Note
Brilliant!    The king is dead… long live the king! We have a new Super 12 champion, after three years of Crusader rule the Brumbies from Australia clobbered the Sharks from South Africa but then if you don’t know that by now dear friend you need to unsubscribe from this e-mail, it is not for you!
The Sharks tried manfully for forty minutes and managed to tackle and intimidate their way to a 6-6 score line. The Brumbies it seem took perverse pleasure in letting the opposition build up hope in the first half only to destroy the flicker in a blitzkrieg of extraordinary rugby of which no team in the world, at this stage, is capable of. Led by the audacious and incomparable George Gregan they annihilated the Sharks with two Joe Roff tries. The second was of such high quality that nobody managed to lay a hand on the flyer that somehow with great stealthiness appeared at speed to receive a pop pass from the Guv. The best team won and no diplomacy is or was needed to acknowledge that fact, well done Eddie Jones, George Gregan and the entire squad.
The Sharks deserve a special mention; a young and spirited team has reached two finals in less than a year of the Straeuli reign. The fairytale was unfortunately incomplete but the team can look forward to a few years where they will be in similar positions but with the silverware. Well done to Rudolph Straeuli, Mark Andrews and an entire squad who contributed to a highly successful campaign.
The competition’s memories will linger and even though I saw almost every match, live or recorded and read millions of words I can’t wait for the highlight package to be screened on television! There were some breathtaking tries and incredible skills even though the competition seemed a bit stale in the first few weeks but then form is temporary but class permanent. The Super 12 is definitely a classy tournament!
In the news this week has been a few disturbing accusations and counter accusations between Johan Erasmus and Laurie Mains. The heart of it seem to be that the two gentlemen did not see eye to eye and it influenced the Cats and Rassie’s own play. The rumors make me very despondent, a team capable of reaching a semi final of arguably the finest and toughest competition was saddled with external factors prohibiting them in reaching their full potential. One hope that the new coach, remember players tend to stick around for years coaches change regularly… well in SA at least, will have the full and unconditional backing of all the players.
Harry Viljoen advocates the utilization of foreign “consultants” and I can’t agree more in obtaining the best to compliment the coach but let us retain a fair bit of jingoism as far as the head coach is concerned. South African’s understand South Africans and like Allan Solomons and Harry himself we should pursue the best available to assist local head coaches, we have the quality – Rudolph Straeuli, I say no more.
Rugby Forum will continue in case there were some of you wondering what will happen after the completion of the Super 12, the match reports will obviously be rendered useless if there are no games over the weekend but hey, there is always something to write and debate about! Enjoy the issue and send me your thoughts on the Super 12 review.

Mail me at to include or remove your address or to request an RF Omnibus of all the previous issues in MS Word format.

'Post Super 12 Blues' by Mark Foster
Have you ever seen one of those National Geographic specials about some obscure animal called the Vancouver Island Marmot, being followed through the different seasons, in fast forward? No, of course not we have been watching a competition infinitely more exciting and the question now beg, what are we going to do without Super 12 rugby?
The grand finale was played at a packed Bruce Stadium and the Sharks were dealt with disdain, they did however not disgrace themselves. The best team and leader of the log won the competition, a fair reflection? You bet ye! The match was a reminder of why there are finals and not a mere acceptance that finishing the round robin at the top produced a winner.
The battle was of seething intensity and only after 70 minutes did the Brumbies break the back of a gallant Sharks team. Joe Roff was undoubtedly the man of the match with two tries of which the second was a classic. The speed, timing and handling was extraordinary and George Gregan’s vision for spotting the flying wing underlines the man’s mastery of scrumhalf play.
History now of course and although the final confirmed a well known suspicion that the Australians are the best at the oval ball game at the moment, each match, each test and each competition begin with no score and 80 minutes to play.
The focus next is on international rugby and the various touring teams will provide a stern test for the “Big Three” before the Tri Nations. Of the tours the Lions are the big one as it is a rarity and great rugby tradition, the three tests will also provide the Australians with the best possible warm-up.
This weekend?? Gardening, shopping and house chores await, all the duties neglected by 14 weeks of magnificent rugby!

 The Ongoing Search for Shaka Tshabalala
by Tom Marcellus 
It took until about the 50th minute of the Super 12 final for my interest in the flickering images on my TV screen to begin to wane, as Joe Roff burst through the hapless Sharks’ defence for his second, deciding score.  Thousands of Sharks fans around the world must have groaned in unison as they realised that their team’s Super 12 challenge had all but been snuffed out by a piece of individualistic Roff brilliance.

My own troubled thoughts gradually began to drift from the Bruce Stadium in faraway Canberra to our own shores - the battle-scarred Zulu hinterland – and the ongoing search for The Holy Grail: a big, mean, hulking ndoda from the barren hills around Ulundi, to take the fight to these Antipodeans.  Man, I thought, as David Giffen crashed over with 15 minutes to go, where’s an uSuthu-bellowing Zulu warrior when you need one most?

As a boy growing up in Natal, I had followed with fascination the expansion of the Zulu kingdom: the rise of Shaka in the early 1800’s, his merciless subjugation of the neighbouring tribes, the infamous tortures which his enemies had to endure, the disciplined savagery of his belligerent impis.  I even managed to cast aside my traditional colonial upbringing as I surveyed the site of the British Empire’s worst defeat by a “native” force, at Isandlwana, and imagined the glistening Zulu warriors, armed only with assegais and shields, selflessly hurling themselves at their red-coated foe.

Soccer, of course, is the game of choice for most umfaans for a number of reasons, mainly, I suppose, for the sport’s simplicity and for the lingering taint that rugby is the mlungu’s game.  And the latter point cannot be underestimated, as a revealing conversation I had recently with a good mate, a Xhosa, showed that even he, a product of one of SA’s great rugger institutions and a true aficionado, harboured a number of unresolved issues in this regard.  This is no forum for a social examination, however: suffice to say that it is unquestionably a damn shame that these boys, whose early lives are filled with war-like games out in the fields, soon succumb to the charms of so ignoble a pastime as soccer.

Imagine for a minute the great wealth of talent that would emerge if we were able to convert these athletic young heifers of the veld into disciples of the oval game!  The Paulses and Kaysers of this world are from areas west of the Great Fish River where rugby has since time immemorial enjoyed a strong following, even during the dark old days.  No, I’m talking about those little villages stretching from Pongola, deep in the Zulu heartland, to Underberg, Kokstad and Port Edward.  And I’m also not interested in fleet-footed wingers and elusive fullbacks: I’m referring to meaty, scarred, tight forwards who, infused since childhood with an enviable enthusiasm for combat and an almost tangible pride in the war-like qualities of the Zulu nation, are accustomed to grappling, hand-to-hand, with opponents and who relish the odd opportunity to jab the foe in the midriff.

Shaka, I’m convinced, would have relished the physical challenges and occasional deprivations that rugby has to offer.  Proud, strong, brave, fast, ruthless: he would have made the perfect no 8.  Step aside, Mr Skinstad!

2001 Super 12 Review

The Super 12 is over and after 14 weeks and 69 games it is debatable who is more exhausted, the players or the spectators! Here follows RF’s analysis of the great competition;

i)         The Competition Format
Amid much speculation that the current format needs revision to include more teams Super 12, 2001 edition is still a wonderful concept attracting massive sponsorship and new record-breaking crowd attendances as the Sharks proved in their clashes at ABSA Stadium and the full houses at Bruce Stadium.  Television scheduling has become far more viewer friendly although Australasian fans struggle with the hours of South African broadcasts, the reason why there is only a maximum of two matches out of a possible six at God forsaken hours.
The travelling schedules of the South African teams, playing 4 away matches on a foreign continent is a daunting prospect yet they now know what to expect and it is no longer an excuse for large losses. The results of the four touring teams justify the fact and even the Bulls came close to winning a few matches.
SANZAR is in the enviable position of having 5 years of experience in organizing the competition and getting it right, changing a winning formula means another 5 years of adapting to a format untried and tested. The only change worth contending is dropping the fifth Kiwi franchise and replace it with a fourth team from the season’s best country, Australia. Four teams from each country would level the playing fields but probably favour South Africa and New Zealand.
ii)         The Administrators
SANZAR as the ruling body of the competition involved with organizing and arbitrating are doing a very good job at organizing as discussed above however in operational decisions they are lacking firm and swift judgment.
The reason could be confrontation with the game’s ruling body, the IRB or an agreement to only revise and discuss matters once a season is concluded. A point in case is the rule interpretations, although discussed with the IRB there was no firm resolution of what is a glaring problem. The brazen disregard to deal with foul play in a consistent and zero tolerance method has resulted in a competition marred by more off the ball incidents than ever seen before. Administrators are not taking enough responsibility to eradicate the game of hooligans and thugs.
A so-called “bringing the game to the people” theory highlighted the short sightedness of the Stormers’ administrators. One of the leading teams in South Africa over the past few years were forced to play “home“ matches at no less than 3 different stadiums, one openly criticized by touring teams for the lack of facilities. The idea is great however choose the matches carefully, the Sharks/Stormers clash will always elicit a far bigger supply than demand no matter what the size of the stadium. The Sharks’ administrators managed the complete opposite in negotiating a deal over several seasons to play all their games at ABSA Stadium; look at the difference that made.
Again faced with a unique South African conundrum administrators failed to formally commit their sides to a policy of transformation, rather opting for a vague and inconclusive “gentleman’s agreement” as per previous years. The same faces were omni-present but congratulations must go to the Cats, Bulls and Sharks for introducing new (and some old) faces into the fray.
iii)         The Referees
Ah, the much-maligned characters of the competition, in what began as a terrifying journey of penalties, doubtable interpretations and mudslinging the second half of the competition was distinguished by a very high standard of refereeing.
The gentlemen can, in their defence lay the blame squarely on the IRB’s shoulders for “forcing” them to handle a game in a certain way. Sanity though prevailed and much of the new interpretations were left to discretion of the man in the middle and they admirably rose to the occasion to let the game flow.
The referee has a thankless job but the importance and impact cannot be ignored, maybe they should also be involved in some training camps of their own. How about an international board of test referees training camp, somewhere nice like Siberia? It will only enhance their skills and understanding of the game!
The best referees this year were the New Zealanders and South Africans, specifically Andre Watson, Paddy O’ Brien and Jonathan Kaplan. They were the only ones willing to shut George Gregan up and that takes guts in doing!
iv)         Basic skills
Midway during the Super 12 there were more questions than answers basic skill levels was appalling. The amount of knock-ons and fumbles were horrendous and very much unlike the high standards we have become accustomed to.
The final weeks did show a vast improvement, one could assume that players finally realized why they were being paid or not being paid in some cases. The handling skills of certain teams were and are always better than others hence winner and losers but the Brumbies must be commended for theirs. The champions are pioneers in both individual and team skills, the rest can only sit back and admire their phenomenal efforts in both second halves of the semi and final.
The New Zealand teams were mostly disappointing throughout the competition and although the Chiefs and Hurricanes showed remarkable skills in scoring wonderful tries it was limited to a certain few individuals. The South African teams boasted a far better display than previous years although not as good as the Australians however once again there are individuals blessed with wonderful talents. It is a pity that both countries cannot as yet match the Ausies for all round team skills. Imagine the rugby we will see!
v)         Set phases
The most problematic area in the competition was the lineouts, the two finalists were the most effective in this department and thrived on poaching opposition ball and launching attacks from deep. The major culprits were the hookers and their inability to throw an oval ball consistently straight over a fifteen meter distance, why? How many hookers are truly hookers? Strange question? No, most of the gentlemen are converted flanks and props, in other words they have not played their rugby at hooker all their life. It is difficult to believe how coaches could place their trust in incompetent players for one of the most crucial aspects of the modern game. Boring but true, the Brumbies mastered this phase and more often than not it resulted in scoring opportunities.
The scrum made a welcome return as a contested phase of the modern game, teams with strong scrumwork appeared to be more successful as the competition progressed. The tighthead, a rarity in rugby at this level and the wheeling law combined with supposedly straight feeds (not policed enough by the referees) provide both teams with a shot at competing each other’s ball. Apart from a few matches where forwards refused to settle, must be the aftershave, the scrums were solid and the Northern Hemisphere may not have the edge as they thought at the end of the 2000 season.
The other headache and once again vital area of play was the re-starts, very few teams mastered this phase. The reluctance of the big men to jump in the air can be placed squarely on foul play, the threat of having your feet taken from underneath while almost two meters up in the air looms large. Who can blame locks for waiting until the last moment to make an attempt and hopefully remain uninjured in the process? A jackal amongst the sheep, maybe the fancy high tees should be outlawed and the man in the air more protected against some players content in playing the man.
vi)         Broken play
The battlefield of the loose forwards, the psychotic flankers who aim to be at the breakdown first and create valuable turnover ball also to halt opposition attacks and initiate counter attacks from where teams like the Brumbies, Sharks, Hurricanes, Waratahs and Stormers scored brilliant tries from. It is therefore no surprise that the mentioned teams all sported an excellent open side flank that was more often than not the most influential player on the field.
Broken play, theoretically should take up most of the time in a match and if this part of the game is mastered the team dominating the succession of phases will obviously be in the position to score the most tries. Theory is of course different to practice however various statistics show that multi-phase play create more scoring opportunities and in this department the Australians are king.
vii)         Foul play
A major issue in 2001, foul play was the focus point of every game and I cannot remember if there was a yellow-card-free game this year. Ten minutes in the sinbin is an excellent penalty and teams quickly realized that with 14 men on the field is not enough to combat the opposition. The question then begs why did it continue?
Rugby is a rough and tough game, violent even and the players are no angels. Blessed with sizable, fit healthy bodies and great talent one can forgive the abundance of testosterone (not illegal amounts though!) and “healthy” egos on display every week. Of course it is all about intimidation and the need not to show weakness and therefore it will always be there.
Niggle, a great word, will always be there and is one of the key ingredients for a big match. The important thing to remember though is moderation and within the rules of the game, dangerous play cannot be advocated and should be stamped out determinedly but a bit of niggle is good!
The referees and touch judges with help from the camera’s performed an average job this year and one hopes that their policing become more determined and consistent for every player in next year’s competition.
viii)         Coaches
More than half the gentlemen in charge of the 12 teams were new to the job, the semi finals were contended by two established coaches against two newcomers. Rudolph Straeuli from the Sharks and Eddie Jones from the Brumbies deserve plaudits for their efforts, John Mitchell also accomplished wonders with the Chiefs.
A quick look at longevity concludes that 3 years as a Super 12 coach should result in silverware or adverts in the Jobs wanted column. Eddie Jones has reached the pinnacle and just reward is promotion to the national position, the important factor though is continuity and he proved that by sticking to the same players and a pattern perfected over years.
How about this theory; the Australians have a better chance of accomplishing continuity over their South African and New Zealand counterparts. The main reason is the limited player resources compared to SA and NZ, which entail a low turnover of squad members and a core of seasoned campaigners. The trick is to introduce new blood within the experienced circle and ensure a mix of youth and experience. SA and NZ are blessed (?) with loads of good players and the loss of one good player is not felt as much because another good player is sumarily introduced, the result is an abundance of good players but very few great players. Great players win finals.
ix)         Players
Finally, the reason we have a competition and the heroes who put their bodies on the line week in and week out. Let us look at the best of the best per position;
No 15
Traditionally one man, Christian Cullen, dominated this position. The All Black legend had his moments but a dodgy knee curtailed his efficiency after an off-season operation. The other perennial contenders, Matt Burke and Chris Latham were not consistent in their efforts. Burke was brilliant at the start and actually lost form while Latham struggled at first then regained his devastating form towards the end of the competition. In the meantime one player produced excellent performances every week and his feats in the final as kicker coupled with a devastating try scoring ability elevated him to the top, he is of course Andrew Walker.
No 14
The New Zealanders tend to produce great wings and with Howlett and Wilson available the position is almost wrapped up, Breyten Paulse did not enjoy enough chances and Ben Tune as always were injured most of the time. The position however goes to a New Zealander vastly underrated in his own country, Roger Randle.
No 13
The outside centre produced no clear favourite this year but three players did very well and they are Deon Kayser, Tana Umaga and Daniel Herbert. Kayser enjoyed rich form at the end of the competition and Umaga was devastating as usual before his injury but Daniel Herbert steadfastly plays the midfield enforcer role to perfection and his attacking abilities are not too shabby either!
No 12
The inside centres were varied in style and performance, Japie Mulder was menacing on defence, Trevor Halstead always manages to attack the gain line and Paul Steinmetz forced his way into contention for the Hurricanes. Another good performer was Jacobs from the Bulls bearing in mind he was part of a losing team. The midfield however is about combinations and this year the Wallabies have it, Nathan Gray was responsible for a Waratah revival.
No 11
A few wings were contenders, Bruce Reihana, Friederich Lombaard and Jonah Lomu but few made the impact that Joe Roff did, his performance in the final underlined his pedigree, enough said.
No 10
A position troublesome to both New Zealand and South Africa, there were good performances from Carlos Spencer at times, David Arlidge is an excellent prospect, Tony Brown was dropped on an occasion and Mehrtens hardly played. The South Africans unearthed Butch James and he is the only contender to no less than three Australians, Manny Edmunds and Elton Flatley were excellent but the king at the moment and probably the best in the world is Stephen Larkham. Mercurial.
No 9
There is only one. Byron Kelleher was excellent and Justin Marshall competitive but the best is undeniably George Gregan, there are few better rugby players in the world running around at the moment than the Brumbies captain.
No 8
A difficult choice since there was so many contrasting styles. Deon Muir played brilliantly and his counter attacking abilities was awesome, Totai Kefu’s driving play and linking was invaluable to the Reds but the consistent performer and true eightman was the Springbok captain, Andre Vos.
No 7
A few players performed the “fethcher” role with aplomb, Corne Krige, Warren Britz, Phil Waugh and Andre Venter in his own indomitable way but the outstanding loose forward in the competition was George Smith. The young dread locked forward was magnificent and a huge factor in the Brumbies’ title win.
No 6
The compliment to the “fethcer” is the creator and few have the uncanny ability of Johan Erasmus to perform that function. Owen Finnegan plays a special part in the Brumbie set-up and is devastatingly effective in doing so but Rassie is world class. Charl van Rensburg deserves a special mention.
No 5
The enforcer of the pack and there were a few players, Johan Ackerman, Dion Waller, Todd Blackadder and Justin Harrison but the most influential player is Mark Andrews he is a must when in a tight situation.
No 4
The “looser” of the two locks, Victor Matfield from the Bulls had a wonderful season and John Eales was injured for most of the time. The best exponent was Albert van den Bergh and his high work rate and lineout prowess make him a valuable asset.
No 3
The tough men up front, who knows what they get up to? The most consistent performers were Willie Meyer and Greg Somerville, with the latter probably edging Willie Meyer out with his higher work rate away from the scrums.
No 2
A few players contended for this vital position but only four really stood out, John Smit, Anton Oliver, Michael Foley and Jeremy Paul. The difficulties with throwing the ball into the lineout underlined the importance of that skill alone and here Jeremy Paul was consistently the best.
No 1
The loose head most deserved of this position was the Stormers’ Robbie Kempson. Ollie Le Roux played very well, Karl Hoeft was more than solid for the Highlanders and Bill Young was strong for the Brumbies.
Rugby Forum Super 12 XXII
15         Andrew Walker
14         Roger Randle
13         Daniel Herbert
12         Nathan Gray
11         Joe Roff
10         Stephen Larkham
9           George Gregan    (captain)
8           Andre Vos
7           George Smith
6           Johan Erasmus
5           Mark Andrews
4           Albert van den Bergh
3           Greg Somerville
2           Jeremy Paul
1           Robbie Kempson
16         Tana Umaga
17         Elton Flatley
18         Byron Kelleher
19         Ollie Le Roux
20         John Smit
21         Justin Harrison
22         Andre Venter
The player of the tournament is a difficult choice, there were some outstanding performances from many players and a shortlist will probably be George Smith, Johan Erasmus, Phil Waugh, Joe Roff, Byron Kelleher, Dion Muir and a few more. One man however stood above the distinguished list and that is George Gregan, his mastery of his position and the responsibility of captaining a side coupled with world-class performances in every game makes him a worthy recipient.
x)         Conclusion
The Super 12, 2001 edition once again proved to be the best competition in the world, early worries proved to be unfounded and the rugby was sparkling, innovative and hard as nails. The strength of all the competitors ensured that few matches were walkovers and the semi finalists were only determined the last week of round robin play. The finalists were the two best teams of the year and even though the score line reflected an easy win for the Brumbies they fought very hard for the deserved crown.
The Super 12 remains a fascinating and worthwhile competition with a long and secured future, the best of the best in the Southern Hemisphere.

I favour the Gucci outlook, long after you've forgotten the price, you remember the quality.    Allan Jones, Australian coach
The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.    Anon
I've heard of Bread of Heaven, but this was ridiculous.    Gary Knight after being struck by a "flour bomb" during the third test between the Springboks and All Blacks in 1981
Generally the theories we believe we call facts, and the facts we disbelieve we call theories.    Felix Cohen
Playing rugby at school I once fell on a loose ball and, through ignorance and fear, held on despite a fierce pummelling. After that it took me months to convince my team-mates I was a coward.    Peter Cook

Match Reports
Brumbies 36 - Sharks 6
The Super 12 final lived up to all expectations, there was extraordinary defence and individual brilliance from two teams widely accepted as the best in the competition. Both teams boasted strong packs and excellent running backs but most of the speculation before the game centered on the halfbacks and how they would contend with the pressure, the good ball and the bad ball.
The first half was probably the most intense 40 minutes of rugby witnessed for a long, long time bone crushing tackles and fierce rucking coupled with strong running highlighted play. The Sharks were good value for money and even dominated exchanges; almost scoring on three occasions was it not for a defensive pattern not breached in more than three hours of play! Butch James missed a few penalties and the young flyhalf struggled to slot the ball from very kickable positions. His counterpart, Andrew Walker missed nothing.
The Brumbies continued their previous exploits by soaking up the pressure and sometime intimidating tactics from the Sharks. In this regard George Gregan kept his cool admirably where in the past he has been guilty of loosing his head when played off the ball. The man knew destiny was calling and his superb efforts under trying circumstances made all the difference. The Brumbies as a unit stuck together and weathered the storm; patiently waiting for their opportunities and at halftime the score was only 6-6 compliments of Walker and James.
The Brumbies repeated their semi-final feats when after the break they seemed to step up a gear, George Smith, somehow subdued in the first half came into his own and Justin Harrison poached a few of the Sharks’ lineout balls. The continuity of phases, so prominent in the Brumbies game allowed Jeremy Paul to slip his hands through a tackle and create space for Joe Roff to score the easiest of tries. The Sharks, not yet out of it but with rain poring down faced an uphill battle, comebacks in rugby are rare but not impossible, the day however belonged to Joe Roff. The wing scored a brilliant try after a pop pass from George Gregan put him into space. The Sharks were down and out.
The rest of the half was one of defend and once again defend for the Sharks as the Brumbies machine attacked from all over the park, the men from ACT seem to be as comfortable as ducks in the rain with sleek handling and great skill. Justin Harrison capped a good afternoon by scoring a charge down try off a James clearance kick but the result was already a foregone conclusion.
The Brumbies with Walker and Roff were too good for the Sharks and their brand of intelligent football is the envy of the rugby establishment. The title was well deserved and could lead to a period of dominance similar to the Blues and Crusader teams of the past, all depends of course on the new coach and loss of key players. The Sharks are young and with a new coach and eager players they will be a force to be reckoned with.
Man of the match:    Joe Roff

Rugby Facts
  • Only 5 teams has contested Super 12 finals - Blues, Crusaders, Natal/Sharks, Highlanders and Brumbies
  • The Wallabies trail the Springboks in test victories, the Springboks have won 28 tests compared to the Wallabies 17 wins.
  • Australia, New Zealand and South Africa were only admitted to the IRFB in 1948.
  • The England team of 1971 was the first team since 1891 to leave South Africa unbeaten.
  • The first French test victory in New Zealand was in 1979 on France's national holiday, Bastille Day, the score was 24-19.
  • Kobus Wiese was fined R 50,000 for punching Derwyn Jones from Wales in a test match played in 1995.
  • The first test match to be televised was England vs Scotland in 1938.

Letters to the Editor
Dear Ed.
Why all this moaning about Francois Swart. If the England selectors had have adopted the approach of many of your contributors the England team would not have the services of a truly outstanding game breaker and kicker. Harry has also repeatedly stated that Swart is there to learn the culture of the Boks. What is wrong with that. If Swart then develops into a  fabulous player who would deny he should be played. At the moment we have, in my opinion, only one fly half and that is Butch James. Swart could turn out to be a wonderful deputy and replacement in times of trouble. Remember that James has highly suspect tackling which is being targeted by our opposition. No side can afford to be without its kingpin for ten minutes or perhaps most of the game should he be red carded. Developing Swart in my opinion is absolutely essential  for the future of South African rugby. I am afraid playing duToit or Montgommery in this position would never result in a win for the Boks in exactly the same way that Swannepoel is more likely to cause us to lose a game than to win it. Thank goodness he is out.
For your contributor who says Bokke is the correct word for our team I would like to refer him to about 70 years of cricket and rugby commentary where the team is called the Springboks or Boks. Only in Afrikaans are they called the Springbokke. Any Mammal book written in English will only refer to the plural of Springbok as Springboks.
Good luck to Harry and his squad.
CJ. Hull
Agreed, I don't see the fuss about the young Swart either but this is South Africa remember, the Springbok side is more important than any of the other glaring issues our country faces! My personal wish is that we unearth a Johny Wilkinson who surpassed Rob Andrews' records at the mature age of 22! Naas himself played in a Currie Cup final aged 19 and was a winning captain aged 22! If there are any such prodigious talents out there they need all the help, as early as possible, they can get.

Dear Ed,
Can you please ask Mr. tom marcellus to speak English and concentrate on the rugby he is "commenting" on? Mid way through his section it felt like reading a legal document because the "aforesaid" mentioned a few things that I could not get a handle on.
Thank you for this column of yours that gives us pleasure to read of the past weekend's happenings and stir up an appetite for coming one. 
Gordon vw

To whom it may concern:
I personally think that we have a very good Springbok sqaud but I to whould have made a few changes but here is my team:
9.J. vd Westhuizen
4.A.vd Berg
1.O.le Roux
And then my Super 12 team:
19.J.vd Westhuizen
21.O.le Roux
22.A.vd Berg
Mr Oelofse

Here are my teams:
Aus NZ SA Super 12-team
15.Chris Latham 15.Christian Cullen 15.Thinus Delport 15.Chris Latham
14.Andrew Walker 14.Jeff Wilson 14.Breyton Paulse 14.Aisia Tuilevu
13.Daniël Herbert 13.Tana Umaga 13.Robbie Fleck 13.Daniël Herbert
12.Rod Kafer(Mortlock is injured) 12.Pita Alatini 12.Japie Mulder 12.Pita Alatini
11.Joe Roff 11.Jonah Lomu 11.Dean Hall 11.Jonah Lomu
10.Stephen Larkham 10.Andrew Mehrtens 10.Butch James 10.Stephen Larkham
9.George Gregan 9.Byron Kelleher 9.Joost van der Westuizen 9.George Gregan
8.Totai Kefu 8.Ron Cribb 8.Bob Skinstad 8.Totai Kefu
7.George Smith 7.Marty Hollah 7.André Venter 7.George Smith
6.Owen Finnegan 6.Jerry Collins 6.Johan Erasmus 6.Johan Erasmus
5.John Eales C 5.Mark Cooksley 5.Mark Andrews(Captain) 5.John Eales(Captain)
4.David Giffen 4.Todd Blackadder 4.Albert van den Bergh 4.David Giffen
3.Ben Darwin 3.Greg Sommerville 3.Willie Meyer 3.Willie Meyer
2.Jeremy Paul 2.Anton Oliver(Captain) 2.John Smit 2.Jeremy Paul
1.Bill Young(I'll choose Nic Stiles if Young is injured) 1.Carl Hoeft 1.Rob Kempson 1.Bill Young
16.Mat Burke 16.Paul Steinmetz 16.Deon Kayser 16.Joe Roff
17.Nathan Grey 17.James Arlidge 17.Braam van Straaten 17.Butch James
18.Sam Payne 18.Justin Marshall 18.Craig Davidson 18.Byron Kelleher
19.David Lyons 19.Koula Tukino 19.Corné Krige 19.Owen Finnegan
20.Justin Harrison 20.Norm Maxwell 20.Johan Ackermann(Matfield is injured) 20.David Giffen
21.Glen Panaho 21.Kees Meeuws 21.Ollie le Roux 21.Carl Hoeft
22.Brendan Cannon 22.Mark Hammett 22.James Dalton 22.John Smit
What do you think of my teams?
Johann Loubser

Dear Ed,
Pity about the Sharks,but I'm still proud of them; from last to second is an achievement. Staying here in London I was able to see the Baa-baas lead by Gary Teichman wollop England [43-29] at Twickenham...the Springboks should take note of the Barbarians running game.
Monday ,was the 2nd last world serries sevens, event held at Twickenham. SA lost to Samoa in the cup quater final; in the plate quater final SA beat Canada 43-0 &
in the final SA beat ENGLAND 31-7 [I can at least say that I have seen SA beat England at Twickers]
The cup final was between NZ and Oz..NZ wining 19-12...the high light [something I doubt I'll ever see again] was seeing Lomu getting bounced while on attack at full speed......
Could you please tell about who will be playing fly half for the Bokke [rumors are that Percy will be playing either fly half or full back]...we are worried!
Cheers Marty
Don't worry, Butch James has done more than enough to collect the no 10 jersey and with Ausies sorting out his kicking he will be the test pivot.

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Briewe en Opinies in Afrikaans 

Wel daar het jy dit nou, die Brumbies is die Super 12 kampioene en dit beteken die Australiërs het elke beker op dies aardbol in hulle besit, wel behalwe nou die gesogte beker wat Sir Donald Currie aan ons geskenk het! Verbaas sal ek nie wees as die Skotse oubaas se nasate almal in kangaroe land sit nie!Die opwindende finaal was min te doen met prag en praal, die twee spanne het mekaar opgefoeter van ‘n kant af. Die lakwerk in die eerste helfte was uit die boonste rakke en die Sharks het sewe soorte duiwels uit die Brumbies geduik. Ongelukkig kon hulle nie die druk omskep in punte nie. Butch James, het gesukkel met sy skopwerk en was hy maar so akuraat in hierdie departement as met sy vlieënde Hollander duikslae kon die Sharks dalk saamgesels het in die tweede helfte. Die tweede helfte bet behoort aan die Brumbies en daar was geen sprake van ‘n Sharks herlewing nie, inteendeel ek sou minder verbaas gewees het om die Skim in my sitkamer te sien sit.

Die verskil tussen die spanne was ongetwyfeld Joe Roff. Die man is ‘n meester en enige rugby liefhebber van waar ook al sou die windmaker vleuel se ongelooflike vaardighede bewonder het, ongelukkig ten koste van die Sharks. Die Brumbies het hulle titel onbetwisbaar verdien maar ons hoef nie op moedverloor se vlakte te sit nie, dit het die span drie tot vier jaar geneem om die vrugte te pluk van al hulle harde werk. Rudolph Straeuli is in die benydenswaardige posisie dat dit sy eerste seisoen is met ‘n jeugdige span propvol belofte. Mark Andrews se woorde kan beaam word, wag tot volgende jaar en kyk hoe goed is hulle (die Sharks) dan.

Die ou ongelukigheidjie van Saterdag is egter nou verby en ons kan begin voorberei op die jaar se hoof dis, toetsrugby. Die hele suidelike halfrond speel internasionale rugby in Junie en die vooruitsigte vir die Springbokke lyk baie goed na ‘n suksesvolle Super 12 (gemeet aan die standaarde van vorige jare). Die Franse is natuurlik nie te versmaai nie al het hulle ‘n baie jong en onbekende toergroep gekies. Die gevaar lê juis in die feit dat niemand weet wie die spelers is en waar die sterkpunte of swakhede skuil nie. Die vorige Franse besoekers het ons natuurlik opgedons dus sal Harry en sy boksombende moet lig loop.

‘n Baie hartseer storie is besig om af te speel, ek verwys na die hele Rassie, Laurie Mains verhaal. Die twee manne, albei sterk karakters is besig om ou wasgoed in die openbaar te was en wat uitkom voorspel niks goed vir beide van hulle nie. Inteendeel die nuutste gerug (feit?) dat Rassie aan kliniese depressie gely (nog ly?) en nie die spelpatroon wou volg nie is baie onrusbarend vir beide Cats- en Springbok spanne. Van die feite is egter ooglopend en dit is dat Rassie se spelpatroon totaal verander het tydens die Super 12. Ons hoop van harte dat Rassie fiks en gesond, fisies en geestelik, is vir die opkomende toetse want op sy beste is daar min so goed soos hy. Dit was juis teen die Franse in Parys, 1997 waar hy die voorbok was in een van die beste vertonings nog van ‘n Springbok span en hopelik bring die Franse weer die heel beste uit dié spog flank.

Skryf gerus vir my ‘n e-pos en lug jou opinie oor die Super 12, die Springbokke en die opkomende toetse.



Hallo Red,

Dis weer ek, FRANS!! Dankie vir die Afrikaanse gedeelte van Rugby Forum en ek stem saam dit sal groter word. Ek vra weer om verskoning oor my uitlating oor daardie opmerking van jou oor Lumo ens wat ek verkeerd verstaan het.

Voordat ek my mening begin lig, laat weet tog net vir Storm Fergusson ons het skool al jare terug al verlaat en doen nie spel toetse nie!  Hy moet nog groot word. Hoe lyk dit, laat hy 'n bietjie Afrikaans praat dat ons sien?  Ons het guts om ten minste Engels te probeer.

En wat betref Bryan Torien met sy opinie "Bit like setting a trap for a monkey isn't it" en sy opmerking van Jonah "His function is to draw several backline players so that they can all say SOUTH AFRICA STOPPED JONAH LOMU and open the field of play for the Wilson's, Umaga's and Cullen's of this world" wil ek net by
hom graag weet wat het dan gebeur gedurende hul 5 in ry verloor onder Taine Randell....of was dit nog "ou skool" rugby?..........wakker word ou boet! en "I believe that if you don't have anything good to say about someone don't say anything at all"  hoor WIE praat? Ek bly maar net in NZ. O ja' ek is 'n SA'kaner en baie trots daarop net soos jy oor NZ.  Hoe weet ek die ou kom van NZ?

In elk geval, Did you hear that the New Zealand Post Office has had to recall their latest stamps?
They had pictures of New Zealand Rugby players on them. People couldn't figure out which side to spit on.

Red, ek verwag nie jy moet dit op die blad plaas nie,  maar indien jy wil gee ek jou toestemming om dit te (wat is die Afrikaanse woord nou weer?) edit! Sorry Storm Fergusson!!

Sedert die Chiefs uit die Super 12 bus geval het, sien, hoor en word daar nie meer Super 12 rugby gepraat in NZ nie, 'n land waar rugby belangriker as politiek is, sê wragtag baie!!  Wil jy graag weet hoekom?

Four surgeons are taking a coffee break. The first one says, "Accountants are the best to operate on because when You open them up everything inside them is numbered." The second surgeon says, "Nah, librarians are the best; everything inside them is in alphabetical order." Third surgeon says, "Try electricians. Everything inside them is colour-coded." The fourth one says, "I prefer New Zealand rugby fans. They're heartless,
spineless, gutless and their heads and arses are interchangeable."

Pasop nou ou boet? Moenie met Frans lol nie!

Springbok Groetnis uit die land waar die eenoog koning is.


Beste Red.

Ek dink Harry is besig om goed uit die bus te bliksem, met sy keuses. Waarom nou die druk op Francios Swart plaas, hy is nog jonk en daar is nog baie tyd om hom te slyp, (onthou eers kruip dan loop ).Om Pieter Rossouw uit te los vir Dean Hall is ook onverklaarbaar. Dean Hall het een goeie lopie gehad in die Super 12, weet ook glad nie hoe om die bal te versprei nie.

Wel hier is my 15 tal.

15 Percy Montgomerie
14 Breyten Paulse
13 Robbie Fleck
12 De Wet Barry
11 Pieter Rossouw
10 Butch James
9  Craig Davidson
8 Bob Skinstadt ( Is op enige af dag nog steeds beter as Vos )
7 Andre Venter
6 Rassie
5 Mark Andrews
4 Albert v d Berg
3 Willie Meyer
2 John Smit
1 Robbie Kempson.


Braam v Straaten
Thinus Delport
Corne Krige
Ollie Le Roux
Charl v Rensburg


Stuur 'n e-pos aan om jou eie opinie te lug







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