Rugby Forum
  Volume 1 - Week 18  
Editor's Note
Brilliant!  Whoever thought South African rugby is boring? After a tumultuous week off the field the goings on in the Springbok camp is far more intricate than the average Robert Ludlum thriller and for spellbound entertainment value nobody need to look elsewhere! 

Saturday’s valued test victory was vitally important to the Springbok psyche even though the manner in which it was accomplished left a slightly bitter taste in the mouth. The ill discipline was unnecessary from seasoned professionals like Mark Andrews and the tone, set by referee White was clear from the outset, any transgression would be punished yet certain Springboks insisted on testing his patience and cards by placing themselves in punishable positions. Yes, rugby is a physical game but also a game for “smart” players and was this not one of the areas targeted by the coaching staff? 

The big news, to use an understatement, of the week was the appointment of Bob Skinstad as national captain until the 2003 Rugby World Cup. The announcement was met with a variety of emotions like shock, horror, blasé, elation and optimism but definitely a reaction from everybody. The 50th Springbok captain is probably the most controversial figure in SA rugby since Naas Botha, loved and adored by a legion of young fans, his adult support or lack of is firmly split between the three strongholds of North, South and East. Andre Vos, one of the few players that seemed to transcend petty provincialism was unceremoniously removed from his position, seemingly the traditional fall guy. A coach loses a few games, somebody must carry the can, sorry Andre you are just too nice a guy and as the classics go… the king is dead, long live the king.

What does the appointment of Skinstad mean? There is sure to be an opinion from everybody and even walking in the street this name is heard in a variety of national tongues so not to appear sitting on the fence, here goes. I think Skinstad's appointment is good for South African rugby, an all round popular choice is never the answer, too many people to please, what is needed at this moment in time is somebody charismatic to counter the inherent shyness of Harry Viljoen. Face it, Viljoen does not have Mallett’s magnetism on television and in interviews, Mallett chose his opposite, Teichman – the ultimate strong, player’s player and leader through his deeds on the field. Christie and Pienaar, again the exact opposite of Mallett yet both these combinations produced two extraordinary successful eras. Is it optimism or just plain hope and a long shot in the dark? There is a good dose of pragmatism in this decision, Skinstad is a precociously talented rugby player who thrives under the pressures of captaincy and media attention, his game is sure to benefit as was proven in the 1998 season. An added dimension that the Hilton College old boy brings is confidence and enjoyment, elements sadly lacking from the Springboks efforts in the last two outings. That was the good.

The bad and the ugly? Skinstad may not have the support of the majority of “senior” players, supporters are no longer gullible enough to believe any PR drivel (read lies) of any player on television, radio or press interviews confirming that “everybody” is behind the new captain or some hogwash to that effect. Bob’s first and probably greatest challenge is to earn player respect, you do not need to like your captain but you must respect him. The blinkered public is under the general misconception that they actually make an impact on the field by voicing their discontent with the coach, the captain and the team, bollocks that is. Mallett’s “forced” resignation happened with public support in his favour on the ticket issue, Teichman... say no more, fat help “public opinion” was! Bob will win the public support with victories and labors on the field and that should be the least of his worries and efforts. Another problem that may be envisaged is the man him self’s form, with limited game time against the French he was impressive yet against the quality Super 12 sides he was solid, nothing spectacular but then very few of the past two week’s starting XV’s displayed any of their Super 12 form bar ironically Andre Vos. Skinstad should rise to the occasion, he is a class player and a fair bit of a showman, as the Springbok captain there are few bigger acts around.

The Springboks are once again expected to drill a depleted Italian team and should in all fairness post a good score and use the opportunity to display their game plan, comfort themselves with a new captain and gain more confidence in the wake of the All Blacks’ arrival in July. Speaking of the All Blacks, the value of the French series will be measured by their performance against Anton Oliver’s men. I suspect that the French team is not as weak as we make out to be and that the All Blacks could find the going a bit tougher than their previous opposition, for the Springboks’ confidence, a French victory would be heaven sent but most unlikely.

The biggest and most anticipated match of the year is between Australia and the British and Irish Lions; the first test will be as tough as nails after a very dirty and physical buildup. The press from both camps has gone to town with the entire “foul play” issue and it reads like the pleadings in an acrimonious divorce, of course it is all about “psychological advantage” it makes for good salacious reading. The test itself should be won by Australia, the team assembled possesses the most skilled backline in world rugby and the renowned lineout prowess of Eales, ably assisted by Giffin should provide more than enough ball to attack with. The Lions will dearly miss the skill of Neil Back and George Smith’s impact may be huge in broken play, the inclusion of “hard man” Owen Finnegan will temper most thoughts of an all out brawl. The only problem that the Wallabies may have is the lack of match practice but their team oozes class and we all know that class is permanent.

Enjoy the weekend’s rugby, three test matches will ensure that I am out of trouble in front of my television supporting the French, Wallabies and Springboks. A quick word to all those “ex-Springbok” supporters, there is nothing worse than a fickle supporter, one that cannot stand by his team through thick and thin, better or worse. I’m not saying that the Springboks are above any critique; as a matter of fact it is a good way for them to remain levelheaded but when the crunch comes we need to support them regardless, kind of like a close family member. Good luck Bob and the Springboks.

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

Harry's Rubicon by Mark Foster Mark Foster
The average South African rugby supporter may be forgiven for feeling “slightly” confused at this moment in time, I sure am! The week that has been was supposed to be devoted to post mortems of a French series won or lost, a dissection of the game plan(?) and the way forward in the Tri Nations. What do we get, the sacking of a Springbok captain, the third in as many years and once again the involvement of Bob Skinstad.
A short note on the test, probably long forgotten in most minds, the Springboks did not convince against a valiant French team. The match was marred by off the ball incidents and undisciplined play from the men in green and gold. The French, no slouches in this department complained after the match (with justification) that the Springboks should “grow up” and play the game not the man. Evidence from the amount of yellow cards and suspensions is that there was a lot of truth in this statement.  I was very disappointed in the way some players displayed their “pride and honour" in wearing the Springbok jersey, not only did they let their team-mates down with pathetic discipline but also their country.
The match was not an exciting affair and with a slightly better performance in the first phases the Springboks dominated possession and territory but failed to score more than one try against some dogged determined defence. The French, was forced to play with scraps and Merceron did his best to keep the scoreboard ticking and could have won the match with a crucial drop attempt and penalty. His opposite, Butch James had a shocking match and looked a shadow of the player so promising in the Super 12. How can all the stars of two very good sides like the Cats and Sharks suddenly perform so far below average barely a month after the Super 12? The only ray of light was Andre Vos and Albert van den Bergh, the one got injured and the other dropped for their troubles! Which brings on the biggest news in SA rugby 2001.
Harry Viljoen announced Bob Skinstad as the captain of the Springbok team until the 2003 RWC, a very unsuspected move to say the least! Bob Skinstad, a great player, is unfortunately involved in another sacking of a Springbok captain and for somebody not as popular with the various rugby fraternities as with teenage fans, it could mean a highly damaging move to a promising career. Obviously the man never chooses to be in this situation but let the truth be told, he is probably mentally tough enough to deal with the situation and make a bigger success than any other player. Few will forget his infectious leadership of the Stormers side a couple of years ago and his injection of confidence and enjoyment into the Springbok side. Only when he became involved in a selection conundrum for the previous Springbok coach with first Andre Venter and then Gary Teichman did his popularity wane behind a cloud of provincialism and “fair” play.
What to make of this decision? Harry Viljoen is under more pressure in the last two weeks in his current capacity than probably ever before in his career as provincial player and highly successful businessman. He is also intelligent enough to realise that there is something drastically wrong in the team and set-up. Applying his business logic he is “sweeping clean” and attempting a new refreshed beginning, jump-started by a dynamic captain with precocious natural talents. The only problem is that this is not a normal business but the cutthroat world of Springbok rugby with fans unforgiving in nature, blessed with no patience and overfed with the same BS too many times.
Harry Viljoen admitted that he will make mistakes in his tenure as coach and many may feel that he has already especially in his latest decision but and this is a big but he might just pull this off. Let us judge after this weekend against the Italians, even though their third team but if the discipline is beyond reproach, there is an inkling of a game plan and a far better body language we might yet be part of a wonderful renaissance. Optimism is what is needed but not at the expense of realism and Saturday will be the crossing or sinking of the Rubicon.

Rudderless on the High Seas? by Tom Marcellus
Phwooar!  What a diabolical start to the test season.  Shoddy performances, yellow cards, punching and butting, not to mention a new skipper, 5 changes after match one, and a whopping 7 changes after match 2.  What, we cry out in unison, is going on between oom Harry’s ears??

Last week, following the pitiful performance of the Boks against Les Bleus in the first test at Ellis Park, a mate of mine and I were dissecting the match over a few melancholic cappuccinos.  In our efforts to gain a better insight into the quagmire that is now SA rugby, we even went so far as to pick up a loose copy of Beeld, and, in good soutie fashion, laboured through its linguistic minefield.  On page 23 we came across a small article, tucked away, that speculated that Bob Skinstad was pushing Andre Vos as both Bok eighthman and skipper.  Nah, we agreed.  Although Skinny was just about the well-licked dog’s bollocks as a player, his form thus far in the season had not yet come close to the dizzying heights of 1997 to even contemplate his displacing a gutsy skipper who had shone in the Super 12 and had played well enough in a losing pack on the previous Saturday.  In any event, we agreed, the team was full of more obvious candidates for the exulted role of Bok captain – Mark Andrews and Corne Krige sprung immediately to mind as players with the right amount of gravitas, not to mention mongrel, to inspire the troops in battle, should Avos be deposed.  “Journo hack”, we chuckled.
Imagine, then, our collective horror when we discovered on Tuesday morning that Beeld’s sniffling wolfhound had been spot on!  Now let me say quite unequivocally that I am a great supporter of Skinstad, and have never doubted that, injuries aside, he would one day prove to be a great skipper of the Boks.  But that “one day” was no time soon, I thought, as Bob attempted to re-establish himself as a world-class international looseforward.
But, no, let’s stop right there.  Let’s leave the new skipper alone and wish him “God Speed” for the challenges that loom.

Of far greater concern to the SA rugger public are the words and deeds of Harry Viljoen and his ever-burgeoning Bok management team.  For weeks now we have listened patiently but expectantly to Harry and his merry band as they waxed lyrical about the bold style of play the team is to unleash upon its opponents, the gelling of team gees amidst the duned splendours of Plett, the meticulously planned strategies to thwart the efforts of evil Antipodeans.  Hell, there was so much smoke being blown up our arses that I thought we had been listening to pinstriped business consultants, rather than grizzled rugger coaches!  And what exactly do we now have, 3 weeks down the line?  Soulless play, haphazard selection, an anguished former captain, a defensive, surly coach, and, no doubt, a bewildered First XV.

Optimists may perhaps propose that Harry and his trusty advisers are 7 steps ahead of us, but somehow I doubt it.  All indications are that our Field Marshal has little idea of where to do to go to from here, has lost confidence in his handpicked squad of stormtroopers, and has now pressed the panic button a mere 2 weeks into the campaign.  Perhaps we should pack those sandbags ‘round the front door and stock up on tinned food?
As Harry and his travelling circus rolls into Telkom Park and readies itself for the side-show against the Italians, we, the euniched masses, can only sit back with our breaths baited, cock our eyes nervously towards the lands across the Indian Ocean, and see what transpires.  A mighty weekend of action awaits us.  But, jeez, the tension is killing me.  Pass me a double Cappy ‘n Coke while we wait, will ya?

Test Teams
All Blacks
15 Conrad Jantjes Leon MacDonald Chris Latham Matt Perry
14 Breyton Paulse Jeff Wilson Andrew Walker Dafydd James
13 Robbie Fleck Tana Umaga Daniel Herbert Brian O'Driscoll
12 Japie Mulder Pita Alatini Nathan Grey Rob Henderson
11 Thinus Delport Jonah Lomu Joe Roff Jason Robinson
10 Percy Montgomery Tony Brown Stephen Larkham Jonny Wilkinson
9 Neil de Kock Justin Marshall George Gregan Rob Howley
8 Bob Skinstad (capt) Ron Cribb Toutai Kefu Scott Quinnell
7 Andre Venter Taine Randell George Smith Richard Hill
6 Andre Vos Reuben Thorne Owen Finegan Martin Corry
5 Mark Andrews Troy Flavell John Eales (capt) Danny Grewcock
4 Johan Ackermann Norm Maxwell David Giffin Martin Johnson (capt)
3 Willie Meyer Greg Somerville Glenn Panoho Phil Vickery
2 John Smit Anton Oliver (capt) Jeremy Paul Keith Wood
1 Ollie le Roux Carl Hoeft Nick Stiles Tom Smith
16 Lucas van Biljon Mark Hammett Michael Foley Iain Balshaw
17 Etienne Fynn Carl Hayman Ben Darwin Austin Healey
18 Victor Matfield Chris Jack Matt Cockbain Matt Dawson
19 Corne Krige Marty Holah David Lyons Martyn Williams
20 Joost vd Westhuizen Byron Kelleher Chris Whitaker Colin Charvis
21 Deon Kayser Andrew Mehrtens/Mark Ranby Elton Flatley Gordon Bulloch
22 Jaco vd Westhuyzen Doug Howlett Matthew Burke Jason Leonard

They bashed us, basically. And quite frankly, it was embarrassing at times. Some of my players looked a little gun-shy, and that worries me, this is meant to be a body contact sport.    Greg Smith, Fidji coach
There's nothing that a tight forward likes more than a loosie right up his backside.    Murray Mexted
In one match last year eight water-bottle runners ran on the field and gave drinks to the players when someone was injured in the first thirty seconds of the game. Thirty seconds - hell they must have been thirsty. When I played we got a piece of orange at halftime, and if you were quick you got two.    Colin Meads
You would like to think that everyone would be treated equally, but in this farmyard some pigs are created more equal than others.    Rod Kafer

Rugby Facts
  • This year was the first time a non-French team has ever played in the final of the European Shield, Harlequins of London.
  • The Garryowen Football Club is one of Ireland's oldest rugby clubs established in 1884 and the initiator of the up-and-under kick, a Garryowen.
  • The most tries in a match during the 1995 RWC was scored by Marc Ellis from New Zealand
  • England in 1992, became the first team since 1924 to win all their matches in the Five Nations for two years in succession.
  • The Springboks' most drawn test are against the British Lions, 6 matches.
  • Eric Liddel, one of the characters of Chariots of Fire fame played on the left wing for Scotland in 1922.

Letters to the Editor
Hi Ed,

I sent this off to the Natal Mercury on Monday (its as yet unpublished) and pass it on to you, as you also seem to be buying into the Test matches are development games scenario espoused by our Harry ('Admitted, we all knew that a few defeats would be imminent whilst in a building phase for RWC 2003'- Rugby Focus 17). Its kak bru!

"What a lot of tripe our Harry is trying to get us to buy into! Test matches are so called because they're designed to pit the best of ours against the best of theirs. The aim in selecting a side to play in a Test match is for it to win. Hear that Harry? To win!

Test matches are not development matches nor games to introduce experimental players, there are many other avenues to fulfil that requirement. Test matches should be the epitome of rugby at its best or has the introduction of the World Cup reduced Test status to testing grounds for development between World Cups?

Very simply, if the national coach wants to select the newspaper vendor off his street corner because he believes that person will deliver the success he, the coach, undertook to provide on appointment that's fine - if success is achieved. If the chancy selection fails then the coach should 'Vat sy goed en trek!'

The French had one week to prepare. We had a fancy camp for two weeks followed by a week concentrating on preparing the final selection for success. We had kicking experts, backline experts, video experts, defence experts, cordon bleu cooks, you name it! The French had a coach. 'Nuff said."

Like you, like Naas, like most folk I thought even with his collection of controversial selections that Harry's side would win. The team that played the Barbarians in December would have plucked the cockerel!

Ciao, Storm Ferguson

Hi Ed,
Amazing how people still blame Nick Nallett and duck and dive to criticize Harry and especially Markgraaff!!! Jeepers there super team can't scrum or do line outs or win kick offs!!! Mallett could at least do this. Come on guys, don't be like Naas and Arnie and get off the Mallett band wagon!!!
M P Small-Smith
Hey, I blame Nick Mallett for being Nick Mallett not his coaching abilities, the man is a phenomenally successful rugby coach but his ego, with all respects, became too big to admit a few errors in his ways hence his departure on a technical aspect. His record from a win/lose perspective was impeccable and had he not stubbornly refused to admit his selection blooper with Skinstad (I rate Bob highly as a rugby player but he was not ready for the RWC) and subsequent selections he would still be firmly entrenched in the job and yes defnitely have produced a far better prepared team for the French game as he for one understands the French temperament.
I do agree that I for one am ducking to criticize Harry but he needs a few games in charge to stamp some kind of authority, how long? do I hear you ask, wait 'till the next defeat and the manner of such defeat and you will see...    Ed.

Dear Ed,
It must be the most thankless job in the country, that of Bok coach but if you can't take the heat stay out of the kitchen.
Harry seems to be crumbling, his body language on boots or any TV time he is getting is very defensive and he does not seem to like the line of questions, answering mostly" with as I have already said".
The sad thing is that he is another who is intent on changing SA rugby, transforming our game into something that that is not us, we as a people love and play the game our way, hard and we use the upper body strength that we are blessed with to our advantage so it amazes me to see them falling down at the feet of the opposition trying to set up ruck ball, instead of using our strength to break through the defence before setting up that quick ruck behind the defence so our support is running onto the ball instead of trying to stay behind the ball and on side.
There are many ways to advance over the advantage line without lying down at the feet of the defence (George Smith will kill us) but the best way for a coach the build a team is to first master the basics, go out there and win games doing the basics and the players will grow in confidence and then when they believe in themselves they will start believing in the coach and that is when you can start to bring in the fancy stuff.
Remember the basics all the time because without them the fancy stuff will not get set up, you have to have each man doing his primary job first that is why you need to start playing basic rugby so each man knows his first responsibility and when he has that down pat and can do it in his sleep now you can start winning and if Harry's goal is 2003 he better start winning now even if it not pretty it will do two things for him, firstly it will keep the public happy, we are a nation that likes to win and we will pass on the close calls to rebuilding but we are winning and that is all that will matter.
Secondly it will make the players believe in him, not the outward TV or newspaper we believe in him, but the inside quiet real belief that he needs so they will accept that long term goal this said and having watched the team practice I don't think this is going to happen and I say that Harry will be at 2003 as a spectator
Andre van Rooyen

Dear Ed,
There was a lot that went wrong with the Springboks on Saturday but the main ingredient missing was good old fashioned Springbok "fire!" Every player that represents South Africa on the field has the ability to compete with the best teams in the world, it just seems that we have lost our confidence. Most of the players look intimidated. We have to become ruthless and strike fear into the hearts of all our opposition, even when playing Spain. South Africa have some of the best athletes in the world but we always think our opposition are at an advantage. It all boils down to mental attitude, if the Boks can get it right, we will be unstoppable. We don't need all the coaching staff, maybe a good sport phsychologist. Bring back the "fire" on Saturday and send a message to the rugby world that someting great is coming their way!!
Michael, Edenvale.
G'day Editor
Sooner than later Harry Viljoen is going to be the 7th Springbok coach to be forced into Resignation or Fired. What is his Game Plan? An even better question, has he got a Game Plan? A couple of Questions for Viljoen.
1. If all his Aussie coaches are so wonderful, why are they coaching Souh Africa? Does he honestly think that the ARU would just let them go. No, they are the coaches that Australia doesn't need. The leftovers, but not to worry Harry will employ them.
2. South Africa has a huge Rugby History. One of the best in the World. In the past our National team's diet consisted of Forward play. Why aren't we using a similiar approach? Why are our forwards standing in the Backline?
3. Does he consider Rassie Erasmus to be a Flank or a Centre?
4. Does he not get the idea that his new adoption of a pattern will never work? These players he selected aren't use to playing the game this way. That is because right from Primary school level to Provincal level knowone in the country plays like this. Even if his side masters his pattern. What happens whern new players enter the fray, he then has to start all over. In other words his back to square 1.
5. Why doesn't he encourage his attacking players to try and round around or past the opposition as opposed to into them. Does he think Danie Gerber would ever of become the rugby player he was if he simply ran into players.
Iron Fist

Hi Ed,

Juus but what a shock, Bobby for Andre? Watching Pale Toe or whatever its now called last night I couldn't believe my ears. The Poms have a saying - 'Gobsmacked' - which describes exactly my emotions. I had felt extremely sorry for Andre having to lead a team where the coach obviously was not giving him the back up required when one could see the constant interjections by the plethora of captains in the side, as well as the lack of discipline visible when any player seemed able to approach the Ref and wouldn't have been surprised if he'd relinquished it as a result. If it weren't for the money and the desire to put country first, who would blame Andre for holding his third finger up in Harry's face?

Pale Toe also gave the viewers another close up chance to see Andre Markgraaf slumped in a chair and 'answering' questions. Is the slump arrogance or a defensive mechanism? When you add his comment about the French having five locks in their pack (Magne is a world rated flank) and Viljoen on the Boots show last week commenting on the French having picked such a tall lineout, you realise just why Harry had to bring in so much outside help. Neither of them know what they're doing! Harry got quiet pissed off with Dan Retief for asking 'But surely you knew the height of their forwards?' Markgraaf also got a tad tetchy when a caller asked if the
Boks had done any scrumming. His reply was a classic opening bat leg glance! Something about not having had enough time with the team to do the basics because they'd had to accommodate the time required for input from the various skills experts that were added to the squad.

Another question: Why is Markgraaf rated so highly as a coach? My observation of him is that he did raise the standards at Griquas but they failed in the crucible of semi-final fire. He was given the Cats and the chance to buy/call up any player he wanted, yet the team failed dismally. He became the Bok coach and fired the captain, then achieved the unique distinction of becoming the first coach to lose a home series to New Zealand, as well as a dismal record. Sorry but the word great in front of
coach doesn't describe Markgraaf to me.

A further question: Weren't you a bit concerned when a Bok returning from the Plett extravaganza said 'I've learnt so much over the past two weeks?' As Martin Pelser and Piet Greyling commented in the Citizen last week, the 'experts' should be coaching their skills at primary school level and that a Springbok when selected should be the best, and know he's the best in the country, in his position. How the hell had he achieved Bok status when he still had so much to learn about the basics?

This morning I faced East, got on my knees and expressed fervent hopes and wishes for our rugby. The high delivered by the performances of our teams in the Super 12 have been deflated by two shots to our feet. The first was our performance against the French; the second yesterday's dismissal of Vos. Will Saturday's game against an Italian team, selected after 27 of the first choices were unavailable, be the third?

Storm Ferguson

 Mail me at to submit your own 'letter to the editor', all letters are published unedited

Briewe en Opinies in Afrikaans 

In ‘n baie middelmatige vertoning het Suid-Afrika se bestes (?) Saterdag die Franse “jongspan” geklop met 5 punte, vergeet van jubel en juig oor dié toets sege alhoewel ‘n baie belangrike oorwinning vir die Springbokke het dit ietwat ‘n wrang smaak in die mond gelos.

Die algehele gebrek aan disipline en die swak temperament van die groter gros spelers het my tot raserny gedryf, hoe kan ons as een van die sogenaamde toonaangewende rugby lande so laag daal om ‘n oorwinning te bewerkstellig? Ek stem saam met die “sagmaak tegnieke” en karnuffel wat gepaard gaan met rugby en veral rugby op ‘n hoë vlak maar daar is verskeie metodes om dit te doen, blatante vuilspel is onaanvaarbaar, later meer daaroor. ‘n Baie vreemde verskynsel het ook kop uitgesteek Saterdag en dit is ‘n Springbok skrum wat so erg opgeneuk is dat een van ons slotte vir ‘n maand lank beseer is, verbeel jou dit, ons sogenaamde skrumkrag van weleer is uitgewis! Gister se grotes soos Os du Randt, Hempies du Toit, Mof Myburgh et al het seker erg gestik in hulle onderskeie keelnatmakers.

Die vraag is deur baie lesers gevra en in die algehele publiek onderskraag, wat gaan in die Springbok span aan? Die spelers het soos ‘n klomp nat hoenders gelyk, die lyftaal was negatief en die “manne” het min beindruk as “top beamptes” van ‘n “besigheid” wat astronomiese bedrae per wedstryd ontvang. Bob Skinstad en arme Andre Vos was die enigste spelers wat gelyk het of hulle dit geniet om rugby te speel, die ander spelers het almal hewige fronse en ongelukkige uitdrukkings vertoon.

Dit het dalk tyd geword om te bevraagteken of ons spelers hulleself kan aanpas by ander spelpatrone en met nuwe tegnieke en idees. Ek weet, Harry Viljoen is die afrigter en moet geblameer word bla bla bla maar dink daaroor, die spelers sukkel selfs by hulle onderskeie provinsies om die basiese tegnieke te bemeester, die Blou Bulle is ‘n goeie voorbeeld. Die Cats se Laurie Mains het, lyk dit vir my, begryp dat ons spelers te onnosel is om die “nuwe” tipe rugby te speel en dus volstaan met sekere “sterkpunte”. Dat die Sharks so goed gevaar het spreek boekdele vir Rudolph Straeuli se vermoëns as afrigter, hy is die enigste wat besef het dat die gemiddelde SA speler nie oornag kan verander nie. Die einste rede dat sy proses met ‘n baie konserwatiewe hand begin het. Harry Viljoen kan wel geblameer word vir iets en dit is die oorskatting van die spelers se vermoëns!

Die swak disipline moet aangespreek word, dit is vir my onmoontlik om te glo dat ons so swak verdedig en so baie strafskoppe afstaan, met swak verdedig bedoel ek die geneigdheid om die verdediger om die keel te wil gryp. Die spelers het almal deesdae geweldige sterk bolywe en dit is baie maklik om uit ‘n duikslag te wrig as dit hoog en op spoed is, dit intimideer glad nie en dien geen doel om die bal te bemeester nie. Die idiale duikslag en vra maar iemand wat al aan die ontvang kant was, is in die midrif, nie net is jou wind uit nie maar die kans is goed dat die verdediger die bal gaan wen weens ‘n geforseerde aanslaan of die aanvaller se natuurlike reaksie om eerder vir die duikslag te keer en dan so die bal te los. Henry Honibal en Gert Smal was meesters, Corne Krige en Rassie het dit eens op ‘n tyd gedoen, waar dan nou? Kan dit wees weens die gebrek aan ‘n duikslag afrigter? ‘n Afrigter het eens op ‘n tyd vir my gesê, “om goed te duik hang alles af van die grote van jou hart” dit smaak my daar is geen hart in die Springbokke se spel nie!

Die vuilspel is ‘n ander aspek van die swak disipline, van waneer het ons spelers nodig om vuil te speel om ‘n toets te wen? Daar is geen vertroue in die huidige spelpatroon of die vermoë om wedstryde met vaardighede te wen nie. In die ou dae het die All Blacks so ver gegaan om swaargewig boks kampioene in hulle span te kies om ons te ontwrig en te intimideer, die tipe van taktiek het geen plek in internasionale rugby en teen super spanne soos die Australiers en Kiwis gaan ons sleg klei trap met sulke spel. Die Italianers is in die land en met hulle derde span gaan hulle die Springbokke die stryd aansê, dit wys jou, Suid-Afrika dwing het die respek verloor wat ons eens as beste in die wêreld verdien het. Die wedstryd sal wel help met die selfvertroue en om ‘n patroon in te oefen maar is dit slegs valse moed? Enige iets is moontlik teen die Italianers maar as dit teen die Franse misluk het, gaan dit verseker in die Drie Nasies ook misluk.

Die prentjie lyk minder rooskleurig op heter daad en ons hoop maar dat Harry Viljoen wel ‘n plan het, dat die spelers weet wat dit is en ons rugby genoegsaam verbeter om ten minste in die Drie Nasies te kan kompeteer.



Beste Red.

Sir Harry en sy mede-keurders het ek dink nou 'n idee hoe die span daarna moet uitsien. 'n Mens weet egter nie wat gebeur agter die skerms en in die raadsale van die Rugbyfirma nie, meer ek kan my dit indink. Stel jou voor. " Memo from the Minister of Sport: We hereby demand that the team will represent the composition of the population of South Africa or else...." Ek is bly ek staan nie in daardie manne se skoene nie. Ons het mos "misters" wat in losies sit met dop in een hand, biltong en worsies in die ander hand en vir die teenstanders sit en skree. Wat 'n klug. Ek neem begaafde spelers nie kwalik dat hulle uitwyk na die buiteland waar daar nog 'n mate van gelykheid op meriete geld nie. Voorbeelde hiervan is legio. Daar is egter nog 'n paar goed wat aan my krap. Hoeveel mense presies is daar gemoeid by die Springbokke. Ek hoor nou die dag sowat 18. Om wat te doen? Wie betaal vir die lot? Hulle is erger as Micheal Jackson. Al verskil is dat Jackson pawiljoene vol maak. Ek weet dat die sport nou professioneel is, maar waar is die dae toe dit nog bekostigbaar was om rugby toe te gaan? 'n Ander ding wat my grief is die swak sportmangees en boewery wat op sekere pawiljoene heers. Ek sit  nie meer my voete by 'n rugbystadion nie. Ek wil graag nog my huidige vrou saamneem na 'n wedstryd toe. Ek en sy was baie lank laas by 'n rugbywedstryd gewees. Daardie dag toe gooi 'n toeskouer haar met 'n blik agter die oor raak. Die rede daarvoor was dat ek opgespring het toe Joos Joubert 'n drie in die hoek gedruk het. Om nie eers van die taalgebruik te praat nie. Ek as man skaam my partykeer vir die taal wat gebesig word. Ek kan net sê : Swak !

Groete uit my losie

Beste Red.
Wat nou? Wil die Rugbyfirma al sy aandeelhouers verloor. Ek praat nie nou van die WP ondersteuners nie. Wat doen Sir Harry en sy maters nou? Ek het so pas een van die gewese Springbokrugby ondersteuners in die land geword. Indien hy 'n ander kaptein gesoek het, waarom nie Mark Andrews nie. Iets waarmee ek wel saamstem is die keuse van Gaffie du Toit. Hy is die beste losskakel op die stadium, hetsy spelend of nie. 'n Ander groot probleem wat ek opgemerk het is die afwesigheid van Joost vd Westhuizen op skrumskakel. Hoe lank wil hulle nog aanhou met hom? Hy maak sy eie naam nou krater.
Groete uit my losie.

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







© Copyright 2002 Rugby Forum. All rights reserved.