Rugby Forum
  Volume 1 - Week 17  
Editor's Note
Brilliant!  Well maybe not so brilliant if you are a Springbok supporter… The first weekend of Southern Hemisphere test rugby produced an improbable victory for the jubilant young French team over a far more fancied Springbok outfit.
Let us not beat around the bush, Les Bleus thoroughly deserved the triumph over a mediocre Springbok team riddled with errors. Many a pundit has dubbed this the worst Springbok performance since readmission in 1992 and apart from the match against Spain in the 1999 RWC where we were a total disgrace, I tend to agree that this was nothing to be proud of. Admitted, we all knew that a few defeats would be imminent whilst in a building phase for RWC 2003, but and this is a laaarge but we expected those defeats against the Wallabies or a resurgent All Black outfit in the Tri Nations, not and with all respect, to the French - Six Nations under performers.
The bright side? The defeat happened early enough in the season and there is time for damage control, all depend on the Springbok coach’s ego. Nick Mallett, a “confident” person found it very difficult to admit he made the wrong selections and as a result the team suffered and he lost his job. Harry Viljoen to his eternal credit do not seem intent on emulating his predecessor and the announcement of a reshuffled team and Kayser’s inclusion in the squad reflects an incisive move to get the train back on the rails. The public as “shareholders” in this business expects no less.
The beleaguered new Springbok players hopefully now realize what it means to wear the Springbok jersey although they were little to blame for the fiasco on Saturday, my irk is with the umpteen capped players who treated a test match as another day at the office and not the honour it is. For a rugby lesson the French was apt enough but for a lesson in pride and commitment they were magnificent and few more so than Pieter de Villiers who might be forgiven to think that he made the “right” choice by playing his international rugby for France.
On a different note, the public at Ellis Park once again disgraced themselves with boorish behavior on Saturday. Mr. King and company is trying their outmost best to market a wonderful facility unfortunately they cannot market their hooligan supporters who are none better than the Bruce Stadium faithful during the Super 12 final. Sies Ellis Park!
A shining light this weekend was Retief Goosen and even though this is a rugby publication, the man’s phenomenal victory in the US Open was a great tonic for a bruised national ego. Well done Retief, one moment of disappointment was soon reversed with an outstanding display in the play-off, let us hope a few other players take a leaf from your book…
The All Blacks are back and make no mistake, Western Samoa is nowhere in the upper echelon of rugby playing nations therefore they were summarily dismissed with a half century of points as one would expect. The new All Blacks will improve and with an ideal “buildup” to the Tri Nations expect them to contend come 21 July, Newlands Cape Town.
The British Lions won and lost in a space of three days although coach Graham Henry can feel more than satisfied with an excellent attacking record and an ability to score tries. Goal kicking with Jenkins and Wilkinson in the squad is no problem so the wily old Kiwi will be heartened by his charges' brace of tries. With one and a bit weeks before the first test he is in the enviable position to select from a squad of players performing very well, it all comes down to combinations.
To all new readers, welcome to Rugby Forum, it is now an established weekly e-mail newsletter in its 17th week with an initial distribution of almost 900 people. The aim is to interact by mailing your own opinion of current rugby issues and to read what others have to say about matters dear to the heart. 
Enjoy and even if there is a feeling of doom and gloom remember the words of George Santayana, ‘those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ Good luck Springbokke.

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

"Les Miserables" by Mark Foster Mark Foster
Merde! A depleted French team embarrassed the might of South Africa on Saturday and they thoroughly deserved to do so. The Springboks who streaked ahead after a whirlwind start thanks to a brilliant Breyten Paulse try ended an afternoon very much “Les Miserables”.
The much-anticipated match was a major disappointment from a South African perspective and knowing the average supporter, many would want Viljoen’s head as close to the guillotine as his Huguenot forefather’s heads once were. The crucial element is to learn from this match, make the right selections (read Montgomery and Mulder’s omission) and stick a firecracker up the proverbial of the forwards to stop playing glory boys and get stuck in. Krige is not the only one to get hands dirty and win the ball while the rest play flyhalf, centre and wing just because it is his current job description. I understand the need for some forwards to be out wide in certain moves but what happened to “onder ‘n kombers”? Lineouts… I am not even going there!
The Springboks backline never settled into any of the attacking lines spoke of and tutored during the past few weeks. Admittedly the lack of quality first phase possession from their forwards contributed to their woes but the creativity was gone, enter Fleck at inside centre. The flamboyant French did not need tuition to create an overlap and in one of their forays into Springbok territory Dominici scored a sublime try after a simple move, I have used this acronym before in this column but it seems only the French caught on! KISS…keep it straight and simple!
The French were unfazed by the early miscue, led by the magnificent Olivier Magne and man of the match, lackadaisical Merceron they exercised the most basic of options; good scrummaging, solid lineouts, territorial ascendancy through clever kicking and converting pressure into points with the aplomb of seasoned internationals. It was in fact the seasoned internationals that led the youngsters to a higher pane much unlike their hapless counterparts.
While the green and gold managed to mortify themselves the Lions took a large step forward in inflicting a similar sensation to the gold and green. They were lean, mean and very effective with outstanding players Wilkinson, O’Driscoll, Woods, Back and Johnstone providing the nucleus to a clinical display of attractive winning rugby. Apart from the perennial whinging of “Johno” the match was a joy to watch and even better was the lack of depreciatory remarks from the “three stooges”, Australian commentators Martin, Kearns and whoever the other sod is. 
The coming weekend is monumental for the Springbok cause; they need to win first and foremost, play to some kind of game plan A, B or C and prove that we have a future with the promised new way forward. Harry Viljoen and the team need our support but the average fan has a paper thin thread on patience as history has proven. 
I broke my long-standing policy of hindsight last week by predicting that the Springboks will come good, this week I will merely say, good luck Springboks, you may yet need all the luck you can muster.

Bill Payn’s Great Run by Tom Marcellus
Arguably South Africa’s three greatest gifts to the world of sport are the Springboks, Gary Player and the Comrades Marathon.  I have often in these pages likened a rugby test match to the unholy pastime of war, but even the great test matches of the past – yes, even those savage encounters against the All Blacks in 1956 – have to bow to the Durban-to-Maritzburg epic, which pits Man against his greatest foe: himself.

As a true armchair athlete, not to mention a patriotic yokel from Sleepy Hollow, I have always been fascinated by the great race and the great champions it has produced, from Wally Hayward to “The Comrades King”, Bruce Fordyce.  But even their heroic deeds over the twisting 90km route pale when compared to the legendary run of the Springbok rugger player, Bill Payn, in 1922, when, with the panache of a true athlete, he donned his old rugger boots and went for a wee jog! With the latest Comrades Marathon having been run only 5 days ago, now is surely an ideal opportunity to retell this epic tale and to pay tribute to a magnificent sportsman.

Payn was educated at Maritzburg College, where, from an early age, he displayed a remarkable talent for all physical pursuits and ball games.  Not only was he to play provincial rugby over a period of eighteen seasons, but he also achieved Natal colours in four other sports, namely, cricket, boxing, baseball and athletics.  In 1924 he earned the Green ‘n Gold, playing for the Boks against the touring British Isles.  But enough about his sporting credentials.  Lets get back to 1922 and his great race. 

This is Payn’s own narration of the events of that fateful day:

“On a bleak May morning I toe'd the line at the start when some civic dignitary fired a pistol and then very sensibly buggared off back to his warm bed. When the shot rent the air, off we sped - like a crowd of Armenian refugees fleeing from the wrath of the Turkish army. Shall I ever forget that infernal run. It was not very long before I realised that I was prey to an all consuming thirst, so clamant indeed, that I could not refuse any man who offered me a drink. At Hillcrest my feet were giving me so much pain that I took off my rugby boots and found a mass of blisters had formed on the soles of both feet, some kind follower provided me with brilliantine with which I anointed my feet and then repaired to the hotel for a huge plate of bacon and eggs. This done and much refreshed I ran up Botha's Hill where at the top I found a friend who was also taking part, but he was in a very bad state so we sat down next to the road and exchanged notes and took stock of ourselves and the situation we were in. I fear that we did not move with the freedom of young athletes but rather resembled two old ducks, suffering from some distressing gynaecological disorder.

Fortunately at that stage my friend's supporter arrived on the scene with a wicker basket which contained a delicious curried chicken set on a huge bed of rice. This we shared equally and then set off together in happy companionship for Drummond and here we bent our steps to a pleasant oasis - the pub - where I lined a dozen beers up on the counter determined not so much to celebrate a victory but rather to drown our sorrows. Whilst we were busy at this, one of the camp followers arrived on the scene and urged us both to continue as there were only five runners in front of us. My friend could not continue so I set off alone for Pietermaritzburg. Somewhere along Harrison Flats I noticed a frail little woman with pink cheeks standing at the side of the road. She held up in one hand a bottle and in the other a glass. I stopped, and with old world courtesy bowed low saying `Madame your servant to command'. `Tis peach brandy', she volunteered, `and I made it myself'. I gulped down a full tumbler of this home-made brew and in a second realised that I had swallowed a near-lethal dose of the rawest liquid I had ever tasted. I am still convinced that to this charming little woman must go full credit for inventing the first liquid fuel for jet engines. Fortunately I was facing Maritzburg and I was propelled along the way. I was too far gone in my cups even to ponder on whether this assistance did not breach the prescribed laws of amateur marathon running.
On the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg I was hailed by my wife's family who were taking tea on the veranda. I went off the road and joined them in their tea and cakes. While we were thus happily engaged, two of my `hated' rivals went past and so it was that I ended the course number eight. In the changing rooms I discovered that the soles of my feet were now two huge pads of blood blisters. My brother-in-law then arrived and he had the uncanny insight to my most immediate needs, for he gave me a bottle of champagne, for which I was most grateful. Shortly thereafter a rugby friend arrived and chided me as to whether I had forgotten that I was due to play a first league rugby match the next day and that our team needed me. Cadging a lift on the back of his motorbike we went back down to Durban and on the following day I played full back in a pair of old `tackies”.
Despite his gastronomical adventure, Payn crossed the finish line in eighth position, in a very respectable time of 10 hours and 56 minutes.
We salute a true legend of SA sport!
(For more details about Bill Payn, as well as other great sporting stories, check out  I am indebted to Brian Forsyth for allowing me to use the information supplied on his site for this article - TM)

Match Report
South Africa 23 - France 32
A perfect evening and generous applause greeted ex-South African Pieter de Villiers as he led a young French team onto “les Ellis Park”, undoubtedly an honour bestowed on him by Galthie. The national anthems were delivered with gusto but the face of Christian Califano epitomized the words of the French war song and he was only on the bench for this match!
Many a test takes ages to get going however from the kick-off South Africa re-gathered through Andrews, with a quick feed from Joost, Butch James unleashed a tremendous skip pass to Breyten Paulse. The try-scoring phenomenon sprinted towards the line with the determination of a kamikaze pilot, a swerve and incredible strength on his feet enabled a long stretch over the try-line to score the first try in exactly 18 seconds, Ellis Park and living rooms everywhere erupted!
The Springboks continued with some good work and a little bit of continuity resulted in forced errors by the French, Montgomery obliged and the lead soon grew to 8-0. The magnificent French pack led by a rampant Magne however put paid to any Springbok hopes of possession to institute “seven phases”, with powerful scrumming and solid lineouts they denied the Springboks ball at the source of all possession, the first phase.
Merceron, the little French general at flyhalf produced a splendid display and with his forwards controlling possession produced an impeccable performance with the boot and in setting his three-quarters up with quality ball. A well-taken penalty after an indiscretion by Kempson reduced the lead to 5 points, the French were on the scoreboard and looked unruffled in the process. Merceron also hinted at his ability to drop goals with a couple of attempts, although wide it remained a reminder that in the opponents half any indiscretions would be converted into points.
The Springbok's indiscipline in this match was to cost them big time, the difference between Super 12 and test rugby is evident, mistakes are crucial and after a Japie Mulder’s knee-charge on Merceron, captain Galthie seemed to offer a reprieve by opting for a line kick. The French obviously had far more belief in their ability to score from this phase, since they were dominating it. After a good win by Brouzet the ball was recycled and fed to a backline move of divine simplicity. A defensive error from Dean Hall, his only flaw in a otherwise satisfactory debut, created an overlap for one of the 1999 RWC heroes, Christophe Dominici, with an open tryline nobody was going to stop him, not even a flying Corne Krige. Merceron calmly converted from the touchline and the French took the lead 10-8.
The Springboks tried hard from here but seemed ineffectual, Montgomery regained the lead briefly and there was some stirring defense but the French remained the calmer, more composed team. Merceron kicked another penalty and the rest of the half produced exciting interplay but very little continuity for both teams. Japie Mulder, France’s second best player, again transgressed with a late charge on Jeanjean to hand Merceron another kickable opportunity, one he took with glee and with two Montgomery misses the French held a handy 5-point. The few minutes before halftime was some of the best Springbok play all evening and was it not for an excellent defensive effort from the French and unlucky obstruction running the Springboks might have scored. Well they did not and the half ended with Merceron attempting a long range penalty which he missed, position and possession was shared but a worrying statistic was the Springboks 40% success rate on their own lineout ball.
The second half, like the first began with a flurry and both teams made use of their backline to attack but the Springboks were met with traditional French resistance and the lack of penetration evaporated all patience as advocated earlier in the week. Butch James managed to distribute the ball well and his little box kicks from bad ball was well executed but the young upstart was given very little to work with from a defeated Springbok pack, unlike the Sharks pack that dominated throughout the Super 12, still an admirable start to his international career though. One player with a distinguished career seemed very uncomfortable and Percy Montgomery’s defence of the last outpost inspired very little confidence and once the French realized this it was ruthlessly exploited, a vociferous crowd reaction to his every touch did not help either.
The Springboks to their credit tried to run every ball wide however the lack of a creative center pairing was evident, the stoic tackling made all running opportunities very difficult and a few variations like the Garryowen on a test debutant like Jeanjean would have been a good tactic.  Yet a penalty was won after a good sweeping move and Montgomery converted a difficult penalty to shrink the lead to 3.  The earlier mentioned ill discipline remained with the Springboks and in a shocking encounter, Mark Andrews broke the French captain’s nose with a head butt, amazingly he remained unpunished and the commissioner did not detect any malice either after a citing. Another sweeping backline move resulted in another penalty attempt for Montgomery who hit the post but a high charge on Barry presented him with another chance seconds later. The Springboks were in the lead again after 40 minutes of French rule, somehow Les Bleus was not going to let this match slip and with some strong running from their backline set up another penalty opportunity for Merceron, who did not miss.
The match was finely balanced after Montgomery converted a penalty for a high tackle that referee de Luca easily could have reversed as Japie Mulder, yet again tried to substantiate his shocking reputation by shoving the offender or so Wayne Erikson, the touch judge thought. As it proved from the action replay, it was Willie Meyer that “nudged” Bory who dropped to the ground in fine football tradition, the score 20-19 to the Springboks.
One of the best moments of the match apart from the tries was an excellent piece of defensive work from Dean Hall who chased down Dominici from behind in a sprint for the ball which would have been a certain second try to the little winger. A broken down Springbok backline move was pounced upon by the peroxide blonde who kicked a dropped pass through and like Zidane managed to dribble the ball ahead before being denied by Hall’s greater speed… very impressive against one of the sports acknowledged sprinters.
The result of this happening was a prolonged attack on the Springbok line which held firm but one feel that after a well-won turnover Butch James had to make a clearance rather than run the ball from his own tryline. The French re-gathered possession and with the referee not seeing Van den Bergh’s professional foul opted for a five yard scrum after Galthie almost crossed the line. Merceron, well deserved of his man of the match award darted through pathetic Springbok defence and scored a very soft try which he duly converted. The Springboks and the Ellis Park crowd was stunned, suddenly the lead was more than one scoring opportunity.
The Springboks tried to up the pace of the match but it only resulted in some schoolboy errors, notably two in succession by Montgomery, a knock on and a bad option to isolate himself from the rest of the team, Gerald Merceron converted with ease and the men in green and gold trailed 20-29. The French knew exactly what to do with this lead and forced the Springboks back in their own half with long raking kicks. Once again the Springboks backs tried to run out of trouble and this tactic, although not producing tries did seem to generate some penalties. A few botched attempts at quick taps did not prove costly and Montgomery added three more points to his tally.
Both sides continued to attack, with both backline and tactical kicking, to France’s credit they never crumbled under pressure and the team more adversely affected was obviously the Springboks, being in arrears. Time however wait for no man and with the hour glass emptying the Springboks opted to kick penalties to the sideline and risk their “best” phase of the day to convert into a try. The most pathetic of lineouts followed when Joost, not even standing five meters away originally, seemed to convince John Smit to opt for the short throw, stupid! Merceron gratefully put the ball into touch but the Springboks had another chance to score the vital seven points.
Referee de Luca awarded a penalty after the resulting lineout against the French for not staying on their feet, Montgomery missed the touchline and Jeanjean found touch on his own ten yard.line for a Springbok throw in. The writing was almost on the wall and the lineout was to be the Springbok’s last chance, they duly won it but after driving up midfield yielded possession and the breakaway saw Glas kick ahead on Montgomery. The beleaguered full back stumbled, tripped and got nailed by the defence and forced to hold onto the ball, the penalty was slotted leisurely by Merciron and the fat lady sang, 32-23 a famous victory!
The French maintained their unbeaten record at Ellis Park and delivered a sound rugby lesson to the Springboks.
Moment of the match:     Breyten Paulse's try after only 18 seconds, the little winger beat three players and powered ahead to score a great try.
Klutz of the match:     Percy Montgomery
Villian of the Match:     Japie Mulder
Man of the match:     Gerald Merceron

Rugby News Bits
The news in the world of rugby during the past week:
Lions Defeat
The Lions lost their first match on tour against Eddie Jones' Australia A side and it will serve as a good warning to the tourists that the upcoming tests will be a tough and uncompromising battle.
James Small
James Small, ex Springbok wing is in hospital, suffering from an apparent nervous breakdown. "Jimmy" was one of the best Springbok wings of all time, we hope that his legendary commitment to the Springbok cause comes in good stead to help him through this problem.
Southern/Northern hemisphere gap
A defeat is a very humbling experience and after Saturday, coach Harry Viljoen tried to remind all of a non-existent gap between Northern and Southern hemisphere teams. Agreed Mr Viljoen so where does it put us on the current pecking order since the French were one of the weaker sides during the Six Nations. Wales beat them 43-35, England 48-19, they are with all respects to the current team not exactly world-beaters. Thank heavens we did not play England...
Western Province unbeaten in Argentina
There is an unbeaten South African team! Western Province has not yet lost a match in Argentina however the strength of the opposition is unknown, sounds a bit like France...

All Blacks victory
The All Blacks recorded a solid 50-6 win over Western Samoa, the game produced a few excellent tries and it is a very good beginning to an important year in All Black history. For the first time in recent history they are titleless, no Super 12 title, no Tri Nations and no Bledisloe Cup, for an expectant and rugby mad country the "lack" of performance is unacceptable and a lot of pressure ride on the current crop.

It doesn't matter how quick you are, you can't play rugby without a brain.    David Campese
The greatest professional quality is not money, but attitude.    John Monie, Australian rugby league coach
They think we're just a bunch of ignorant paddies from the bog. Let's not disappoint them.    Stewart McKinney, Irish player before a test against England
When he was rugby football correspondent of The Times, the late V.A. Titley declined to use the first names of players in his reports since in most cases he had not been introduced to them.    Geoffrey Nicholson
Success has made failures of many men.    Cindy Adams

Rugby Facts
  • The most appearances for a single province in South African rugby is Helgaard Muller's 245 for Free State.
  • The ban on professionals (rugby league players) competing with amateurs was momentarily lifted in 1939 to allow players to compete in matches during the war.
  • Lions legend and captain, Willie John McBride was the manager of the World XV who played against the Springboks in 1989.
  • Australian hooker Ross Cullen was sent home for ear-biting during the Wallabies tour of Britain and Ireland 1966-67.
  • The French have an unbeaten test record at Ellis Park after 4 victories over the Springboks.
  • Christian Cullen scored seven tries in his first two tests for the All Blacks.

Letters to the Editor
Dear Ed,
I certainly hope the Springboks win on Saturday but if the French start to kick up and unders onto Percy we will be in serious trouble. We all know he is suspect under the high ball and also that he can only tackle from behind. He also  is not a great kicker under pressure both for touch and poles.
If we know why doesn't Viljoen?
How profetic these words from CJ proved to be!  -  Ed.

Hi Ed,

I feel that Harry Viljoen's disregard for 'overage' players like the outstanding Deon Kayser in the interests of building a (youthful) team for the 2003 World Cup is way off the mark when players like Joost van der Westhuizen and Japie Mulder are retained, both of whom did not enhance their reputations, nor did the Boks any favours.  Japie's indiscipline and thuggery cost us, and Joost's intention to move to Wales shows that his heart is not in SA rugby at the moment.  Further, he is looking more and more past his sell by date.  He was once a great player, but is past his best.
Credit to Harry for taking the pressure off Butch James and giving the kicking to Percy, but, once again Percy continues to play on reputation instead of form, and Thinus Delport would have been a much better Full-back.  Percy is woeful under the high-ball, and gave the ball away too much.  When you have the electrifying pace of Breyten Paulse beside you, and you instead opt to try break through three players as Percy did, then there is somethng severely wrong.
The likes of Thinus at full-back, Trevor Halstead at inside centre, Craig Davidson at scrum half, Charl van Rensburg at flank (cum lock) and Albert Van den Berg at lock would sort out a few problems that plagued the Boks on Saturday.
Disappointed fan (Mike, KZN)

Dear Ed
What a disaster it was! I think that the discipline of Mulder et al contributes largely to this type of loss and Harry ought to do something about it sooner than later to avert more losses like this one.  Please will the Springboks realize that playing for South Africa has enormous repercussions and that the image of our whole nation is on display.  Bad behaviour on the field reflects badly on us all and ought to be delt with.

Having had my moan, most of the side played very well and should be encouraged.  Joost had a good game and his presence does wonders for the team. 

We're trusting for a better game in Durban.
Good luck Bokke.
Brian Andrews

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Briewe en Opinies in Afrikaans 

Goeie gits! Daar gaan staan en verneder die jong onervare Hane wragtig die arme ploeteraars in die Bokspan! Soos die gesegde lui en ons Geskiedenis bewys, pluk 'n ou 'n lat vir jou eie gat...

Die onbenydenswaardige posisie van Springbok afrigter gaan gepaard met een basiese beginsel, dit is om toetse te wen, sela. Ek moet dus van hierdie geleentheid gebruik maak om my standpunt oor wen en verloor te kwalifiseer. Net soos Chris, haat enige Suid Afrikaner die gedagte aan verloor veral in een van ons nasionale trotshede, rugby. Die gedagte en vereiste dat ons alles móét wen is egter ook verregaande en heeltemal onrealisties maar verloor móét en dit is 'n absolute en ononderhandelbare vereiste, gepaard gaan met 'n goeie vertoning. Die span moet dus op die dag deur absolute briljantheid getroef word soos die Super 12 eindstryd, bitter min mense kon die Sharks verkwalik en hulle kon kop omhoog rondstap na 'n skitter probeerslag. Saterdag se Bokke kan dit nie doen nie en dan ja, dan word verloor heeltemal onaanvaarbaar.

Wat nou word die vraag gevra? Dit is uiters maklik om kritiek uit te spreek teen die afrigter en bestuurspan maar hulle is nie die enigste varke in hierdie verhaal nie. Die Springbok afrigter moet na dié wedstryd besef dat rugby nie op papier gespeel word nie al is die beplanning en lesboek van bewegings op kwaliteit Mondi gedruk en gebind, die hele affêre hang af van die spelers se resultate tussen die twee kant- en doellyne. Ek wil graag een ding weet en hierop kritiek uitspreek want dis aangaande een van die "profesionele" punte en dus 'n bestuurs probleem. Gert Smal het die Springbokke, direk of via die media ons sal seker nooit weet nie, gemaan oor Mnr. de Luca se hantering van die wedstryd. Soos die gebruik is met internasionale wedstryde word daar vooraf met die skeidsregter beraadslaag oor sy interpretasies ens. Markgraaf beweer nou dat die skeidsregter die voorspelers onkant betrap het met sy vereiste dat die lynstaan eers gevorm moet word en dat hulle nie kon instap voor die ingooi nie. Verbeel jou hoe profesioneel is die manne as Rassie-hulle in die Super 12 al weggekom het met sekere truuks deur vooraf die skeidsregter te vra, of het ons nie 'n Spaanse vertaler in ons bestuursspan nie, of nog nie?

Harry Viljoen het sy vertroue in verskeie spelers geplaas en hulle het hom, hulle self en hulle land sleg teleurgestel en Viljoen laat "stupid" lyk. Die arme Montgomery het weereens 'n "af" dag beleef en een van my groot dankbaarhede was dat ek nie weer na Phil Kearns en sy twee verwaande Ausie maats hoef te geluister het nie. Hoe kan 'n speler met so baie talent en die ervaring van 40+ toetse so 'n krater van homself maak? Ek is jammer Percival, jy verdien nie die vertroue van jou afrigter nie en jy het nie meer die vertoue van Jan publiek nie. 'n Ander groot teleurstelling was Japie Mulder, 'n patetiese seertand ou beer wat nie net deur 'n kaalkop padda geklop is nie maar ook vir almal probeer bewys het dat hy nog "mean" is met sy laatlope en intimiderende spel. Hy verdien nie 'n tweede of derde kans nie. 'n Paar andere was ook nie wat wonders nie, Andre Venter op slot is 'n mislukking en Ettienne Fynn moet van die bank gebruik word.

Aan die positiewe kant het Dean Hall 'n baie goeie eerste toets beleef, die man moet egter leer om te hardloop met die doel om te gaan druk en eers te bekommer oor ondersteuning as hy in die moeilikheid is. Op volspoed en met 'n bietjie aftrap sal hy moeilik gestuit word, klein Breyten het juis gewys hoe word "krag" vleuelspel gelewer. Butch James was gemiddeld, nie swak en ook nie uitstaande nie, my raad aan hom is om te vergeet dat hy die jongste speler en Joost 60+ toetse het, hy moet beheer vat oor die spel en dikteer, dit is sy werk.

Die Leeus het die mus oor die Australiers se oë getrek met 'n fantastiese vertoning van inteligente rugby en my magtig as dit is hoe die Noordelike halfrond hulle rugby speel wie is ons om koning te kraai? Die speler wat my die meeste beindruk het was die jong Engelse losskakel Jonny Wilkinson, hy was briljant en sy opsies en verspreiding gekoppel met 'n giftige skopvoet moet van hom die hoof aanspraakmaker op Larkham se titel as wêreldbeste maak. Die twee se ontmoeting in hierdie reeks gaan die spil wees waarom oorwinning draai. Die Leeus beskik egter oor 'n hele paar wedstrydwenners en die jong heer O'Driscoll bou voort op 'n reputasie as beste senter in die wêreld, Fleck en Esterhuizen soek juis nog steeds na hom nadat hy ringe om hulle gehardloop het in Dublin verlede jaar. Ek sê net dankie dat dit die Australiers is wat hierdie jaar opgefoeter gaan word deur die Leeus en nie ons nie...

Die All Blacks is terug, al was dit net teen Wes-Samoa het die oorwinning baie beteken vir 'n span honger na sukses. Die Kiwis het 'n moeilike jaar of wat agter die rug en glo maar, 'n nederlaag teen Frankryk maak seer... Die manne in swart speel nog nie met die volle A-span nie en hulle lyk baie goed iets wat hierdie jaar se Drie Nasies al hoe meer interesanter laat vertoon.

Ek hoop van harte die Springbokke verbeter en gee die Hane 'n goeie loesing want ongelukkig word niks minder van hulle verwag na Saterdag se debakel nie. Die span moet net eenvoudig 'n goeie vertoning lewer om sodoende hulle self en hulle ondersteuners moed te gee vir die komende internasionale wedstryde.

Dankie aan julle wat gereeld bydrae tot Rugby Forum, dit sal egter lekker wees om meer briewe te ontvang in Afrikaans.


Beste Red.

Sies Bokke!

Die Bokke se vertoning Saterdag teen die Franse was een van die swakste vertonings in Bok-geskiedenis. Die oefenkamp was beslis nie 'n sukses nie. Die raad van die Aussie-afrigters wat Viljoen bekom het, het nie vrugte afgewerp nie. Ons verdedigingslyn is met gemak gebreek deur 'n middelmatige Franse-span. Die skop-en-vang spesialis se invloed was ook nêrens te sien nie. Montgomery se skop-en-vang werk was swak. Mark Andrews moet as kaptein aangewys word en Skinstad moet Vos as agsteman vervang. Van den Bergh moet Andrews se slotmaat wees en Venter moet na flank verskuif in die plek van Krige. Smit se ingooiwerk is nie van internasionale gehalte nie. James Dalton moet die haker wees met Smit op die bank. Willie Meyer moet die vaskop wees. Die senters moet vervang word. Fleck is ons beste buitesenter en op binnesenter kan Halstead,Julies of Van Straaten bo Mulder gekies word. Delport is 'n baie beter heelagter as Montgomery en miskien moet SARFU al begin kyk vir 'n plaasvervanger vir Harry Viljoen!


Johann Loubser

Die Redakteur.
Ek is 'n " bietjie baie" bekommerd oor die toestand van die huidige span. Goed, dit is nou die eerste veldslag wat plaasgevind het en is dit verlore. Wat 'n swak verskoning.
Die rede vir die span se verloor is:
1.    Swak spankeuses. 
Watse houvas het Montgommery op die keurders? Wat sien hulle wat die breë rugbypubliek in Suid Afrika nie kan raaksien nie? Asseblief groot asseblief tog mense.  (Hy laat my dink aan die fliek "The Party" waarin  Peter Sellers deur sy eie manne geskiet is sodat hy moet ophou om die beul te blaas.)
Japie Mulder is te oud. Hy duik die opponente te laat. As hy hulle 'n sekonde later geduik het was dit in die stort gewees. Die ou storie, 'n ou bul raak geniepsig as die jong bulle hom karnuffel. Hy het ons 9 punte gekos.
Hoekom speel hulle André Venter op slot? Om plek te maak vir Skinstead? Skinstead is nie rugbyfiks nie. Toe hy op die veld kom begin hy praat. Dit is al wat hy doen en om "shine" te vang.
Wie is die kaptein van die Springbokke? 'n Mens sien nie veel van hom nie.  Ek dink hy word deur almal intimideer. Hy dwing ook nie gesag af nie. Dit lyk vir my die politici en die Springbok kaptein het deesdae dieselfde status. Jy kan soveel droogmaak soos jy wil maar "fire"sal hulle jou wragtig nie. Behalwe arme Gary Teichman.
Joost arme Joost. Goeie speler gewees. Waar is Davidson, Swanepoel en de Kock gewees.
Fynn. Arme man. Hy hoort nie in die span nie. Hy het net nie die vermoë nie en is hy te lig in die broek. (Kwotaspeler, hulle kan sê wat hulle wil)
2.    Onfikse span.
'n Fiks rugbyspan speel net nie so nie. Daar is geen drif en "commitment" van die spelers nie.  "Tackel" die ouens nie meer om die bene nie? Ek het twee mistackels gesien en twee drieë gesien.
Dit is net die tweede span van die Franse gewees. Onervare en jonk. Waar gaan dit eindig? Die All Blacks en die Wallabies kom. Net 'n Wonderwerk en goeie oordeel gaan ons rugbytrots red. En moenie kom met die storie dat ons dit nie kan vat om te verloor nie. Ek kan nie. Ek wil nie. Ons was eens op 'n tyd een van die magtigste rugbynasies gewees. Dink aan die 1970, 1976, 1981, 1995 en 1998 Springbokke. Ek neem ook nie ouens kwalik wat oorsee gaan speel nie. Die eens magtige rugby bedryf gaan deur onnosele politiekery in die grond in vertrap word.
Word wakker voordat die onnosel rugbypubliek gaan wegbly by die stadions.

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