Rugby Forum
  Volume 1 - Week 22  
Editor's Note
Brilliant!  As said before, not so damn brilliant… The mighty All Blacks flew out of miserable, cold and wet Cape Town with a victory; one might say it was fortuitous if you were a Marsian statistician who knows nothing about the game but then is there life out there? Harry Viljoen is probably pondering that very question this week as the beleaguered coach face up to the sternest test of his short career, the “they’ve won every frickin cup worth winning” Australians.
Before we look ahead at the coming weekend, a brief look at the All Black test; the Springboks were a much improved team and was it not for poor kicking, bad catching and dubious options the result would have differed. Bygones, water under the bridge… The positives were Lukas van Biljon, the young Shark was a hand full and with his accurate throwing provided a stable platform of lineout ball, the scrum was awesome, Visagie and Kempson installed fear into the old enemy with a dominant performance. Victor Matfield is class, pity about his propensity to get injured and in the back division, Robbie Fleck shone – what is needed though is somebody to feed off him. The defence was inspiring and everyone played a huge part in a monumental effort, none more than Andre Vos. 
Where to from here? Catch the loose passes, kick the percentage kicks accurately, tackle like demons and dominate up front and the Ausies are history! Easy as that? I am afraid not, injuries forced the umpteenth centre-pairing, Matfield has a cracked sinus bone (?) and Montgomery has finally paid the price for lackluster performances. Yet somehow after witnessing Saturday’s defeat I am upbeat of our chances and with the Ausies perennially biting dust on the Highveld the Springboks have history on their side. The other factor is that at some stage all the learning, coaching and the new style must kick in and like a gambler you have to expect the wheel to turn.
Rugby Forum has made long strides since the very first week of the Super 12 competition in February and what began as a one-man show is now a fully-fledged rugby publication with respected columnists producing excellent articles. I want to take a moment (a la “the Biscuit”) and thank all the contributors for making RF the pleasure and success it is. I would however like to request the help of you the regular reader to increase the distribution of the publication by sending me addresses of potential recipients and/or your current “forwarding” list so I can establish the true readership of RF. 
Good luck to the Springboks on Saturday and to all those supporters who are lucky enough to enjoy it live, make extra noise in support of our team, it does make a difference!

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The Real Problem? by Mark Foster
The most amazing characteristic of modern sport is the unpredictability of results; the fact that teams or individuals can compete and anyone can rise victorious on any given day. Before the peanut gallery shouts foul and mention cricket with Hansie and his wicked detractor the devil, let me say not out, because I am referring to sport in the normal honest fashion; no betting, no drugs and no cheating just manu a manu. One game that best typify this statement is rugby, the ultimate team sport.
The favoured team regardless of the pedigree and the record it carries into a match can be beaten. The word test was aptly ascribed to the meeting of two international teams as it is regarded as a true test of ones physical and mental ability. The elite players selected, make no mistake they are suppose to be the best representatives of their country, have the exciting burden of representing their country at the highest possible level. The chosen 22 are in fact representing every single rugby player, young, old, good or bad on the field hence the enormous pressure and responsibility. The most we as supporters can expect is their absolute best, and one can believe that there are not many players who purposefully run onto the pitch with anything else but that on their mind. 
Australia at the moment is riding the crest of a wave unseen before in the modern game, with almost 12 tests played yearly it is a daunting and almost impossible task to remain unbeaten yet John Eales and his team has notched up an impressive winning percentage. The lofty heights of success although gratifying also present an enormous challenge to every team they play against, to beat the World Champions. The Australians latest mission is an unsettled, bruised Springbok team ravaged by uncertainties in selection, policies, politics and coming off a disappointing loss against the All Blacks. The team as is their want will be as professional and well prepared as any of the previous Australian teams to play the game over the last two years, for them it will definitely be a matter of reversing the big loss suffered 4 years ago. As an admirer of their team, players and systems there is no doubt Harry Viljoen will regard this match as his true test, with all respects to the All Blacks.
In contrary to the Australians Springbok rugby will never attain the apparent settledness of the Wallabies team, therefore our country, rugby supporters, coaches and players are to diverse. The Australians would be half the team they are now were they to double their provinces, wipeout rival codes and face a transformation conundrum. This however should not serve as an excuse to any Springbok coach or player; as a matter of fact the entire problem should be kept well away from the team and dealt with by the “professionals” involved in administrating the game. The average supporter in South Africa has been left desolate by the ongoing struggle of the national team, all criticism has been fired in heavy salvos at coaches, players and power struggles within the team, is it not time we look further?
In order for a team, any team to beat another on any given day it needs a few basic ingredients however a fundamental is the support, backing and vision of the authorities to let the rugby players do what they do well and get paid for, play rugby. The unfortunate evolvement of media and the accessibility of all thoughts to the greater masses have played a significant factor in the performances of the team, this is a matter of course and cannot be halted but what can change is the focus of this evolvement to people in higher authority to stand up and be counted. A winning team depends not only on the 22 players on the field but the entire infrastructure that surround them, sort this problem and see the difference.
The English game, arguably at its best in world rugby for years needed one player to stand up and declare, “57 old farts cannot run the game” what the Springboks and all South Africans need is administrators willing to carry the can alongside the numerous captains and coaches who fell along the way, then and only then will we return to consistent winning ways.

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"The Blunt Instrument Approach" by Tom Marcellus
In the aftermath of Saturday’s death-struggle against the All Blacks, quite a few of the disconsolate Bok supporters that I bumped into around Newlands managed to mumble, in between soothing gulps of the golden liquid, that “there were more positives than negatives to come out of the game”.  Jeez, I had to ask myself, since when should any Bok supporter ever have to be satisfied with an honourable defeat?  A home loss against the eternal foe, op Nuweland – a frigging national disaster, if you ask me!  When the Boks take to the field against a band of marauding invaders, it is not how they played the game, but whether they won or lost.  As oom Boy Louw used to say, “Looks to the scoreboard”.
Kind reader, allow me to vent my frustrations and spew forth.  It’s all well and good for successive Bok coaches to speak endlessly of finesse, flair, an expansive approach, and a philosophy of open rugby, but, having once again been subjected the sorry sight of a Bok backline failing to impress against quality opponents, I’m not so sure that that approach still cuts the mustard.  It all boils down to personnel and, quite frankly, I don’t think our manne have it in them to take on the likes of the Cullens and Roffs of this world at their own game.
Fleck, I concede, has plenty of zip, and Butch James may yet develop into a running Test flyhalf, but, man for man, our current manne seem to lack the necessary dash or panache to flourish under a more open regime.  No, methinks, the rapier is not the weapon of choice for our Bokke, rather the bludgeon, the blunt, heavy broadsword.
It has now been a number of years since Bok coaches first began to speak of an open style of play and an effort on their part to try and inculcate something of a French/Wallaby flair into our backs.  I’m all for a jolly running game when we’ve got the “Darling from Despatch” and Michael in the middle, and Mordt and the “Prince of Wings” out wide, but what if that pool of natural talent is just not there? The Brumbies and the Wallabies have developed a gloriously expansive style of play because, quite simply, they are in the enviable position of having a bunch of extravagantly talented individuals who have all peaked at the same time. If you could pick a backline that started with Bernie, Roff and the Guv’nor, you would have no other choice but to run and run and run!
On the other hand, if a coach does not have a similarly talented bunch of players at his disposal, surely his team of players will have lost the contest even before they lace up their boots, should they try to match the strengths of a more talented opposing outfit.  The coach in question may well be taking a gun to a gunfight, but his shiny Colt .45 will not be a match for a pump action.
One thing that really made an impression on me on Saturday was the collective effort of the Bok tight five.  Here, at last, was a performance worthy of the Boks of old, one that those savage old geezers like Chris Koch, Tank van Rooyen, oom Boy, Salty du Randt and Piet “Spiere” du Toit would have approved of.  The addition of that peerless scrummager, Cobus Visagie, to the Bok frontrow meant that he and his 7 partners-in-crime were only going to go in one direction, and it wasn’t gonna be backwards (to paraphrase Pinetree Meads’ immortal words to his brother, Stan, in 1965).  Visagie’s ominous presence, and the invigoratingly robust play of Lukas van Biljon, added a brutish edge to the Bok forward platform.  They were dominant in the scrums and lineouts, and achieved parity in the loose.  This test, as in many others, was won and lost out wide, as the Boks paid the price for their shoddy kicking and an inability to breach the All Blacks defence.
Sure, the search for the next Gerber or Du Plessis must go on.  Afterall, rugby is about scoring tries, and who is more suited to doing just that than an elusive centre or a burly wing?  But, in the meantime, let’s take a look at our current personnel and evaluate the innate strengths of our rugby players. Harry is a businessman, so surely he must ask the obvious question: “What is our competitive advantage?”  I say big, brutish, robust, aggressive, proud forwards.  The day of the hard-headed, mongrel forward is not yet passed.  In fact, with all this talk by every rugger coach in the world of open play and mobile forwards, and bearing in mind the gradual ebb and flow of rugby styles, perhaps now is the chance to recall a few of those wooly mammoths.
I know that it is an over-simplification to rely on the lessons of the past, but here goes.  In 1937, the Springboks faced the All Blacks at Eden Park in the 3rd and deciding test.  Only days’ earlier the team had received a brief telegram from that old warhorse, Polla Roos, who offered only three words of advice: “scrum stop scrum stop scrum”.  The Boks did exactly that, scored five tries to nil, and won the series.  Enough said.

Rugby Against Australia - The Early Days by Brian Forsyth
(Copyright © The Author, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
The first time that these two great rugby-playing nations met was not at International level nor in their own countries. The first recorded match was in 1919 at Rodney Parade in Wales, home of the famous Newport club.  There the South African Armed Forces met the Australian Imperial forces. The Australians won the match by eight points to five. The South African team played in a green jersey with a Springbok head on the left breast whilst the Australians took the field wearing a sky blue jersey with the badge of the Australian Army figuring prominently. This Australian Forces team then on their way home by sea called in at Durban where they played a side of Durban based players winning the match quite easily.
Our Rugby Board decided in 1920 that in the following season the Springboks should tour both Australia and New Zealand.  A 24-match tour spread over four months was approved. This was to become the norm up until 1965 in that the tours to both countries were combined. Theo Pienaar led the Springbok side and, in all, five matches were played in Australia, but there were no tests. Pienaar, a school teacher from Caledon, was an interesting choice as captain at the age of 32 for he was not considered good enough to play in any of the Tests in New Zealand and in fact never played any test match rugby, making him the only Springbok captain to hold this unlikely record. He did not however lose favour with the authorities for he remained in rugby administration and became the very successful manager of the 1931\32 Springboks on their tour to the UK. The side did have some interesting characters, none more then the 5 Morkels from the famous Somerset West family who created a proud tradition and were to dominate early Springbok rugby. The touring side in 1906 contained three Morkels and in 1912\13 there were four on the tour to the UK. In fact their domination at club level was complete for in the local Somerset West side at one stage twelve of the family were in the team playing for the Grand Challenge trophy. It is one of the mysteries of our modern day rugby that there has not been a Morkel featuring either at provincial or test match level. Another famous character was Attie Van Heerden, who in the match on tour against New South Wales set a national record of five tries. Three years later he represented South Africa in the Olympic Games as a sprinter, and then, shortly thereafter turning to professional rugby in the north of England, for which he was blacklisted by our amateur body. Nic Du Plessis, a forward in all the tests and great uncle to Morne, was also a member of the touring party.
How times have changed. In those days, rugby had not really taken off in Australia, and for the match in Melbourne against Victoria the local union had to advertise in the newspapers for players to meet the Springboks. Another interesting fact of this tour was that on the boat taking the side over there was little or no space for any practicing, so the players used to stoke the ships boilers each day in order to stay fit. Our tactics on the field included a four man front row to ensure that gained the loosehead advantage. Another departure from the norm, was that A. S. Morris of Western Province travelled with the team as the trainer, which would appear to be contrary to the IRB Rules in force at the time.
The Wallabies did not tour at all until twelve years later. In 1933 they arrived in this country captained by Dr Alec Ross from the fullback position. It was a five test match series, the only time that this has happened in South Africa. The result was a narrow 3 – 2 victory for the home side and judging from the calibre of players that South Africa had available following a very successful tour to the UK, it is obvious that the Aussies had made enormous strides in improving their standards. Gerry Brand, Danie Craven, Bennie Osler, Boy Louw and Ferdie Bergh, all legends in terms of our rugby, played in these tests.
Australia’s national colours by this time were also green and gold, but in deference to the hosts they played in a yellow jersey, with a green pocket badge sporting the national badge. The Springboks in those days played with the familiar green and gold jersey with the leaping Springbok on the jersey, but their shorts were black. It was only in 1937 that we changed to the white shorts and then Australia used a white jersey, with a green collar and a green and gold stripe around the chest and black shorts. We returned the courtesy in 1953 for when the Wallabies toured again, the Springboks played in a white jersey with a leaping Springbok, black shorts and the familiar green and gold socks. It was only shortly before their 1961 short tour to South Africa that Australia adopted their current playing strip to avoid the ongoing colour clash with the Springboks.
SOURCES: 1. Springbok Annals – Danie Craven. 2. Giants in Green and Gold – Ian Diehm.
For more rugby and other sport stories visit BIG BRIANS SPORT STORIES  or contact the author at

"Sleeping Beauty" by Desmond Organ
A recent trip to the Disney Quest virtual theme park in Chicago brought back the memories of childhood in several ways. The interactive theme park allows adults and children alike to escape into a dream world of fantasy and creation and escape the every day challenges of life. 

It would be a great pleasure to be able to take the Springbok Team into this virtual dream world and return to the glory of the past. At least in this virtual world you could play the combinations that you felt would raise Sleeping Beauty and return her to her former glory. 

In 1974, I remember listening to the Boks playing the Lions on the radio and it was a miserable experience. Overzealous supporters, frequent changes to the team and the odd reference to the Broederbond made the whole affair quite traumatic. 

Fortunately it was not all in vain, for there were several knights in shining armour that were to emerge from the lottery of selection and bring back the glory that we as spectators were used to. 1976 was only 2 years later and what a pleasure it was to see the Springbok backs at full speed, distributing brilliantly, leveraging the ball won by the forwards.  

The glory was to continue with the 1980 Lions; we were launched into a fantasy world of scintillating rugby as our backs drove the Lions back to their Den. I remember the commentators languishing in the brilliance of one Gysie Pienaar. It was a dream series for us and Sleeping Beauty had indeed been raised again. 

The reference to the past is intended to remind South Africans and Bok supporters that our National Rugby Team is in many ways a "Sleeping Beauty". 

We have been faced by controversy before only to emerge victorious and we have learned that the politics that often follow our team around have always been there and yet we have risen above this.  

Saturday reminded me of the past and in some ways I was almost overcome by anxiety as I watched the nations pride stumble at the final hurdle. There is some inspiration though. Watching Lukas Van Biljon play with such pride and passion gave me the slightest feelings of hope. He was beyond the arrogance and attitude of several of the less successful players of the Super 12. He was passionate, he was proud to be wearing the Springbok jersey.  He gave 150% and was given a hero's reception as he ambled off the pitch. 

At the end of the day it was a sad story, but one that we have had to bear in the past. In 1974 we were desperate only to emerge victorious in 1976. Johan Classens has aptly described in the media how what we are experiencing today is not dissimilar from what we experienced in 1974. Readers should ask the Press to print it again to refresh our minds.  

In 1980, we were simply outstanding. Yet sadly the other ugly side of rugby in South Africa raised its ugly head. Politics killed us and we had to wait until the Cavaliers of New Zealand to erase the memories of the Flour Bomb Brigade. 

In 1991, we went down again, isolation and provincial bias saw the team of the early 1990's battle to achieve nationwide support. In 1995 we again had several knights in shining armour and who can forget the feeling of joy at watching Nelson, Francois and others rekindle that pride and passion. 

The post World Cup euphoria was replaced by politics and selection confusion.  There were multiple selections and the demise of the former greatness. The trend here as is the case today is clear. Politics and bias on a provincial basis are integral parts of our rugby and it is only when we stand together and allow Sleeping Beauty to be woken up that we will get better. 

The reality though is that the "seven dwarfs" standing around the glass casket is not the knight in shining armour that will raise Sleeping Beauty.  

We can only look at the past and the trends that are all to frequent to realise that there is hope and that may be in the form of a quiet figure that has performed one act of genius.  

You just have to ask Ollie Le Roux what it is like to run behind a "bakkie" at practice to realise that the Knight is in the making.

Match Review
South Africa 3 - New Zealand 12
The All Blacks, led by Anton Oliver beat the Springboks in a hard, uncompromising match on a cold and wet evening at Newlands. The visitors, at home in weather quite similar to their own South Island managed to out-defend the Springboks and take advantage of every scoring opportunity presented to them.

The close proximity of spectators to the pitch creates a magical atmosphere charged with emotion as only a test between these two rivals can conjure and the Newlands faithful and visitors from afar was treated to one of world rugby’s unique and great test experiences. A pity that the majority left with disappointment ruing what could have been.

The first half was played in fairly dry weather and after a magnificent Haka the two archrivals got stuck in. The match was never going to be a spectacle of running rugby with underfoot conditions as it was and the Springbok forwards managed to impose themselves from early on in the match with a powerful scrum and subsequent pressure provided Montgomery with a well-taken penalty kick. A good start by the Springboks however was nullified soon after due to a defensive indiscretion and Tony Brown equalized with a short-range penalty.

Both teams tried their best to run the ball but turnovers and handling errors prohibited multi-phase play. The Springboks managed to win two more kickable penalties but Montgomery’s direction let him down, costing the Springboks valuable points. The exchanges were fiery but mostly limited to the middle of the field with no side really dominating the other. The Springboks were guilty of wasting a lot of possession with aimless kicking downfield that was easily dealt with by the likes of Wilson and Brown. Tony Brown kept his 100% record with an easy penalty after a Springbok indiscretion for off sides and shortly after did the same when referee Young wrongly adjudged that Hall held on to a grubber from Umaga.

Good attacking play from the Springboks in the last 10 minutes led to a try-scoring opportunity but receiving a penalty instead Skinstad made an incorrect decision to scrum-down rather than take the 3-points on offer. The All Blacks soaked up all the pressure and continued to easily outguess the “tactical” kicking from their opponents. A final flurry in the first half saw the All Blacks manage a few phases and once again trap the Springbok defence off sides, Tony Brown, made no mistake and the half ended with the men in black leading 12-3.

Rain and more aimless kicking dominated the second half’s play with neither side managing to score any points. There were a few good, promising build-ups for the Springboks but as seen so many times, incorrect decisions prohibited any scoring. The kicking to posts were atrocious and the Springboks managed to fluff even the chance of securing a bonus point for finishing within seven points. The All Blacks on the other hand did everything right and their steely defence saved the day on a few occasions and no-one defended better than Jonah Lomu who stopped Mark Andrews from scoring a certain try. The All Black backline played well and was it not for good defence from Fleck amongst others the Springboks would have been in big trouble.

The All Blacks will be heartened by the win and with a few weeks rest will be well positioned to take on the Australians. The Springboks played well but the backline lacked penetration and direction in their running. The forwards performed admirably with a faultless lineout display and great pressure in the scrums managed to overshadow their counterparts. This was a far better display but unfortunately not good enough on the day and definitely not good enough to beat the world champions in a week’s time...

Player Performance:

Rob Kempson:     The piano man played a significant part in a Springbok front row revival. Unfairly dismissed after a woeful test against the French a decent lock behind him and a familiar presence beside him made all the difference.

Lukas van Biljon:     Whoaaa, what a performance and my man of the match, the young hooker threw the ball in straight amid horrid conditions and that is his primary function, he added massive value with his barnstorming runs and the All Blacks, especially Maxwell will attest to his brute strength.

Cobus Visagie:     The enforcer is back and with a command performance threw egg over the dear minister of Sport’s mutterings we need this man to “hurt” and intimidate opposition “strongmen”.

Victor Matfield:     A more than satisfactory start to a test, excellent lineout ball and good running off the rucks, will be the Andrews of the next ten years if injuries can be avoided.

Mark Andrews:     Solid, a good performance, pity he chose Jonah Lomu to run in and not another player, the”big fella” was probably one of the few men strong enough to stop him in that situation.

Andre Vos:     A very good performance but then, has he ever underperformed in a Springbok jersey? Not a true fetcher but his defence and covering around the park was invaluable.

Andre Venter:     Played reasonably well and his tackling and prescence make a difference but he needs a big game to establish his old authority over opposing teams.

Bob Skinstad:     Poor game, he left his hands at home and his decision-making was not up to standard as both captain and player, very good in the lineouts though, thanks to accurate throwing from van Biljon.

Joost:     Don’t know what stopwatch he used to time his passes, a few knock-ons and a propensity to be away from the base of the scrum does not make him the ideal partner for James, use him as an impact player although it must be said that he does a lot of the furraging expected of a loose forward and his tackling is tremendous. He needs to play and assert himself as a scrumhalf and do his primary tasks first.

Butch James:     Defended better but did nothing on attack and his tactical kicking was below par, not a good day for the young pivot. A baptism await on Saturday though and he will need to lift his game and display the talents he showed during the Super 12.

Dean Hall:     Played a very good game, involved all around the field and his defence was more than creditable. Not enough chances in space though he will also realise that at international level not even Jonah can rely on brute strength alone.

Robbie Fleck:     The best Springbok back and the only player trying to innovate, pity nobody running at angles to support his half-breaks, those that did like Skinstad, dropped the ball…

Marius Joubert:     Anybody who watch the game will be forgiven for saying Marius who? He was injured and replaced by Kaiser but his first touch in international rugby was a knock and his second a bad chip kick ahead. He is a good player, I am sure and will be back in the fold.

Breyten Paulse:     Breytie, the Newlands hero had very little opportunities but thanks to him, we always had a scrumhalf when Joost was taken out. His defence branded as frail, was excellent and he stopped one very promising All Black attack with a smother tackle. He needs to receive more ball in space with runners to feed. Saturday might be his game.

Percy Montgomery:     Sorry to say but the man was useless and is under no circumstances up to international standard. Poor kicking out of hand, poor kicking at goal, the very reasons he was chosen. Percy did have a few good runs and maybe he should make a permanent switch to flyhalf, potentially his best position.

Deon Kayser:     Did well in the second half, good defence but very little opportunities to display his good attacking qualities.

Johan Ackerman: Accomplished all that was expected of him with Matfield off the field but does not add the value of poaching opposition ball.

Johann van Niekerk:     A surprising substitution for the best loose forward, Vos he did very well under pressure to gather a kick and race away from trouble, not enough time on the pitch to make a sound judgment.

John Smit:     Another questionable substitution, with van Biljon the best player on the field it was unnecessary to substitute for substitutes sake, Smit was not going to be more of an impact. He might find it impossible to retain the number one position.

Ollie le Roux:     A seasoned campaigner and an excellent impact player, his substitution is a standard procedure, we need to use his skills and weight more with some innovative lineout moves a la the Sharks.

Moment of the match:     Jonah Lomu's tackle on Mark Andrews

Man of the match:    Lukas van Biljon

The job of Welsh coach is like a minor part in a Quentin Tarantino film: you stagger on, you hallucinate, nobody seems to understand a word you say, you throw up, you get shot. Poor old Kevin Bowring has come up through the coaching structure so he knows what it takes... 15 more players than Wales have at present.    Mark Reason, 1996
To play rugby league, you need three things: a good pass, a good tackle and a good excuse    Anon
We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing    Anon
Before the first scrum in a club match, "mean man" Piet Bester chirped, "welcome to HELL" to a very young Ollie le Roux, Ollie's response? "Yes, and meet the DEVIL!"

Test Teams
              Springboks Wallabies
Conrad Jantjes         15 Matt Burke
Breyten Paulse         14 Andrew Walker
Robbie Fleck         13 Dan Herbert
Braam van Straaten         12 Nathan Grey 
Dean Hall         11 Joe Roff
Butch James         10 Elton Flatley
Joost vd Westhuizen          9 George Gregan
Bob Skinstad (captain)
         8 Toutai Kefu
Andre Venter          7 George Smith
Andre Vos          6 Owen Finnegan
Mark Andrews          5 John Eales (captain)
Johan Ackermann          4 David Giffin
Cobus Visagie          3 Rod Moore
Lukas van Biljon          2 Michael Foley
Robbie Kempson          1 Nick Stiles
Ollie Le Roux         16 Brendan Cannon
John Smit         17 Ben Darwin
Corne Krige         18 Matt Cockbain 
Johann van Niekerk         19 David Lyons
Neil De Kock         20 Chris Whitaker
Deon Kayser         21 Manny Edmonds
Thinus Delport         22 Chris Latham

 Springboks vs Australia Facts
  • Saturday's test is the 46th between the countries, with SA in the lead with 28 wins to 17.
  • Australia is the only country against which SA has scored more than a 100 test tries (108).
  • The 1997 match in Pretoria produced the most points in any Tri-Nations test to date, SA 61- Aus 22.
  • Joost van der Westhuizen and Mark Andrews will both play their 12th test against Aus with David Wilson holding the record at 17 for Aus.
  • Piet Visagie and Jannie Engelbrecht share the record of 5 tries against Aus and three players share four tries against SA; Roff, Tune, Horan and Little.

Letters to the Editor

Dear Ed,


Here we go again, for the third year running we start the Tri-Nations hoping to loose and the band is getting bigger by the year.

People in power in this country do not give the public the respect that they deserve, if only they would hear the rumblings on the ground they would make a lot more friends but they don't and this has taught the public one thing, don’t put your bums in the seats and we will get our way because that is the only way we can show our hand and we pay these peoples salaries, so if we watch the open rather than the rugby and do not buy tickets to the games the ripple effect is that they are scared that there ratings will drop and the ripple of that is the sponsors will not be happy and the cheques get smaller and the multi-million rand industry that they run takes a wobble and bingo we, the public get our way, and how’s that for a business fact mister coach.

Being a rugby fan is not all about getting your own way but rather about being able to hold your head up high weather we win or lose and this rechem has us bowing our heads in victory and for that I would rather not be a supporter of the Boks, I am gatvol of being asked to support the team and being told that the ministers are behind the team, who cares and I should not be asked to support the team, I should want to and I don't so here’s to hoping for a biblical smak on Saturday and the start of the road to some sanity in the SARFU camp.

We the public have spoken and beware you that do not heed our warning

Andre van Rooyen


Dear Ed,
Brilliant, another test against stiff opposition, another defeat. At least Viljoen is doing something for the team. His building a new culture, a dissapointing one.
He has now been coach for 8 tests, the Springboks have not yet delivered one good performance under him.
When he started in 2000, we scrapped past the Pumas by 5 points. Went on to win 2 matches against Ireland and Wales in injury time. Lost to England, and in that match were comprehensively outplayed. Come 2001 lose to a severly understrenght French team and then battle to win in Durban. Following that was perhaps the worse performance of them all against a third string Italian team. Then the correct players weren't picked for the Newlands test. The past test against the All Blacks was probably his best test, we lost that test, is that what this now once proud rugby country has now become. Our best test, and we end up losing it.
Harry's always talking 2003, 2003, 2003. If he can promise me that we will win the RWC in 2003, I'll stick with him, but he can't. The players are only fooling themselves in they say they are going to Loftus with high expectations. The All Blacks have mentioned 2003 as well, they said "....we are just concentrating on winning, 2003 is far off and it will take care of itself...". Sides like the USA and Japan prepare and build for the next world cup, not a side like South Africa. I'm not a Andre Markgraaf fan, but I think he saw what is coming, disagreed with Harry's pattern, so he got the boot. Why don't we just stick to our traditional pattern, "Maak sag voor en dan slaan agter".
To end off, I don't blame players like Erasmus for standing at Centre, or Andrews playing Wing. Many people are quick to blame the players, these players are being told to stand their by the coaching staff, they have to listen, in fact it states so in their SARFU contract. Prepare for more defeats until Harry either wakes up or gets the boot.
Iron Fist

Dear Ed,
The Rugby Touring story by Brian Forsyth provided a real interesting perspective what the real men faced in a bygone era, today's pampered "superstars" have absolutely no idea of the hardships involved in playing for your country. Sadly this is evident by their play on the field.
More of the same please.
Craig Peterson

Briewe en Opinies in Afrikaans 

Die naweek is amper hier en dit beteken slegs een ding, rugby en synde dat ons midde die Drie Nasies is, is dit weer toets rugby. Die Australiërs wag op Loftus om die gekneusde Bokke aan te vat op die einste stukkie groenigheid waar hulle ‘n liederlike pakslae op die lyf geloop het in 1997. Later meer oor die Wallabies, die afgelope naweek het die Springbokke hulle rieme styf geloop teen Anton Oliver se All Blacks.

Die eerste gedagte wat my reënbenewelde kop binnegedring het na die Springbokke se nederlaag was dat ons goed gespeel het en swak geskop het. ‘n Nadere ontleding van die wedstryd het my oortuig dat ons goed gespeel het maar ‘n allemintige aantal foute begaan het en absoluut vrot geskop het. Die voorhoede was pure bul met Cobus Visagie en Lukas van Biljon wat werklik ‘n positiewe impak gemaak het, Victor Matfield was uitstekend in die lynstane en die ou strydos Andrews het ‘n goeie wedstryd beleef. Die losvoorspelers was so effe effe, Vos was uitstekend Venter was daar maar Skinstad het ‘n swak dag gehad. Die Springbok kaptein se hande en opsies het hom lelik in die steek gelaat as speler, as kaptein kan daar ook vinger gewys word na die beslissing om te skrum eerder as om ‘n skop pale toe te waag, dit het bewys dat Skinstad geen vertroue in Monty se skopvoet het nie.

Die agterlyn was droewig, James het stadige bal van Joost ontvang, self te lank aangehang en die druk sywaarts gekanaliseer. Die jong skakel het bittermin die voordeellyn aangeval of sy losvoorspelers in die spel gebring, dit kan egter aangevoer word dat met Skinstad op losskakel dit onmoontlik was vir James om die eerste besluit te maak. Robbie Fleck was altyd vol planne en ons moet bittervinnig ‘n speler kry wat by hom kan aansluit in die middeveld. Die vleuels het min kanse gekry maar uitstekend verdedig en dit bring ons by die laaste vesting, Monty; “ag shame” is al wat ek kan sê! Die “blondie” was beroerd, op die kassie het hy nog goed gelyk vanweë die diepte probleem maar vanuit my posisie hoog in ‘n losie agter die pale kon ‘n mens duidelik die man se foute raaksien en klompe hare uit jou kop ruk. Wilson, McDonald en menige van die ander spelers het sy patetiese skoppe soos ‘n Huisgenoot gelees en was dit nie vir rateltaaie verdediging nie het ons sleg slae gekry.

Die positiewe is dat ons vir die eerste keer hierdie jaar fases gebou het, goed geskrum en uitstekend in die lynstane presteer het, die bal was nat maar ons het ver te veel hanteringsfoute vir ‘n profesionele span gemaak. Indien die skakeling verbeter, dieselfde spelers vir meer as een toets gekies word (behalwe Monty) dan kan ons met reg meer doelgerig teen die Wallabies op die veld draf.

Dit bring ons by Saterdag, ‘n moeilike wedstryd want weer eens is daar ongenadige druk op die Springbokke maar soos sulke dinge maar gaan, bring jy dit oor jouself, het ons beer vertonings week na week gelewer was die druk minder en die spel al baie beter. HV sal moet plan maak om die skopwerk te verbeter en as dit beteken Braam moet speel, dan goed so, hy sal in elke geval die lyn reguit maak en dalk beter vanaf Fleck voed as die ander senters tot dusver. Monty moet weg, ver weg en wie ook al ‘n kans gebied word moet asseblief tog net die basiese dinge reg doen want Monty is ‘n las. Beserings het natuurlik ‘n groot sê in ander keuses maar kom ons hoop die span verander so min as moontlik en dat kombinasies die kans gegun word om te vestig.

Ek dink die Springbokke is “due” ‘n wen en of dit nou die magtige Ausies is of wie ook al, my voorspelling is dat die manne gaan baljaar kom Saterdag en dat Suid Afrikaners vir ‘n slag kan glimlag na ‘n Sprigbok wedstryd. Ek sien uit na ‘n goeie wedstryd en daar behoort meer as genoeg redes vir motivering te wees.



Beste Red

Teen die tyd dat die brief publiseer word in die volgende uitgawe, is ons die rugbypubliek of in ekstase of in diepe rou gedompel. Ek wil my nie meer uitlaat oor spankeuses en of spelers wat te lig bevind is nie maar ek sê nog, 'n vis vrot van sy kop af. Aan Desmond Organ betreffende ons geagte mister van Sport, " it is below my dignity to adhere to any of the misters utterances as I regard an unasked opinion as a sign of stupidity". Genoeg gesê. Die Afrikaanse spreekwoord lui, skoenmaker hou jou by jou lees. Het die man al 'n rugbybal vasgehou? Fanie de Villiers het nou die aand op BVP gesê, dat indien daar 'n kwotastelsel implimenteer word, daarna gekyk moet word hoeveel gekleurde spelers daar is en dan daarvolgens die kwotas in te stel. Ek waarsku egter weereens, die SARFU menere en die mister van sport moet nie kom huil as die pawiljoene leeg word nie. Vra vir Brian van Zyl van die Natalse span wat gebeur met 'n span wat droogmaak. Ek het 2 kaartjies om die toets op Loftus by te woon. Nogal losie kaartjies wat ek van die hand gewys het. Miskien gaan ek my hare uit my kop uittrek, maar ek hou nie daarvan om in die publiek of die openbaar te huil nie. Ek is moeg van verskonings van jong span, span bou vir 2003, spelpatrone, hardloop lyne, invals en uitvalshoeke, grandieuse planne en beloftes. As ek nie presteer nie, gaan 'n klient na iemand toe wat wel die nodige produkte en prestasies kan lewer. Ek hoop van harte dat sir Harry 'n grote haas uit die hoed kan trek.
Sterkte uit my eie losie
Chris Erasmus








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