|Volume 1 - Week 28|
A tumultuous week in world affairs is a stark reminder of the beauty and preciousness of life and how easy this can be destroyed by inexplicable acts of violence. The daily problems we confront pale in significance to the massive loss of human life and the suffering experienced by the American people in what will be remembered as one of the blackest days in human history.
In an extremely difficult week to concentrate on the world of rugby South Africans can look forward to the latest edition of the old North – South rivalry, Northern Transvaal against Western Province. Arguably the two most successful unions in Currie Cup history, a match between these two rivals always elicit the best from the players. This year will be no different with the Blue Bulls displaying far better form than last year, when they were out of the reckoning for the Top 8, the match is of vital importance for points carried through into the next round.
The big match will pit a few Springbok incumbents and contenders against each other and the duels at flyhalf, scrumhalf and centre should be extremely interesting. The Blue Bulls with an open running game orchestrated by Jaco van der Westhuizen are confident after a massive win over Griekwas over the weekend, WP will have to move up a gear after struggling to victories against tough unglamorous sides like the Pumas and Border. This match will be a difficult one to call but the experience of the WP side should prevail over the youthful exuberance of the Bulls.
The other important Currie Cup clash is between the Natal Sharks and Cheetas, after an unexpected defeat in Durban against the Falcons, the Sharks need to pick up their campaign and return to their winning formula. The match is of consequence as far as points in the next round is concerned and of course home and away venues. The Sharks will remember from the Super 12 that a lapse at an inopportune moment can cost you the competition. The Cheetas, at home are always a dangerous side and with the return of Johan Erasmus they might be inspired to pull yet another upset victory. The Sharks will be better prepared and one can expect the full might of their Springboks for this match.
On a closing note, one cannot express the horror and grief felt at the scenes of the attacks in New York and Washington and can simply feel, feel for the survivors, loved ones and victims of this atrocity.
Big Brother and the Currie Cup by Mark Foster
The international season is over for the moment and for South African rugby supporters it is back to the local rivalries of the Currie Cup, or is it? I think not, Big Brother, the Orwellian character metamorphosed into an international hit television show is currently on South African television and since this phenomenon began rugby has lost its star status as choice topic of conversation at “braais” and get togethers. Now for those four of you that do not know what Big Brother is, catch a wake up!
It is a sad day indeed that 12, sorry 11 “inmate’s” partying and conniving become more important than the country’s national sport. Gone are the questions about Skinstad’s fitness or Butch James’ inexplicable loss of form and even Joost’s “should I stay or should I go now” antics are less newsworthy than Bradford’s attitude, Margaret’s shower scenes and who will be bedding who? Skande, I hear a few people say and yes like me they also do not have the luxury of DSTV!
Favourite topic or not the Currie Cup has finally swung into full battle mode after a stop start beginning to the season. For the next few weeks the best players in South Africa will compete for the Holy Grail of South African rugby. In the dark days of isolation the Currie Cup substituted as test rugby for every deprived supporter of the game, the big clashes were inevitably Northern Transvaal vs WP. Today there are a few contenders and it might be an opportune moment to analyse the main challengers before the Top Eight commences.
WP: The 2000 champions and the team most rival supporters love to hate will once again bid a formidable challenge. The squad is loaded with Springboks and so-called gamebreakers that play the flowing, running rugby reminiscent of this teams proud heritage. The coach is Gert Smal and as a player there were few less compromising flankers around and this trait will ensure that his charges wont relinquish their title easily. The forwards are strong and with Cobus Visagie and Kempson in their midst the dangerous backline with Paulse, Rossouw and Montgomery will have ample ball to frolic with.
Players likely to shine: The halfback combination of Niel De Kock and Chris Rossouw will come of age and their partnership will be vital in a team capable of playing total rugby.
Natal Sharks: The most successful team of the nineties, runner up in 2000 and runner up in the 2001Super 12 competition is one of the hot favourites for the title. With an excellent squad of talented youngsters and established international stars, coach Rudolph Staeuli’s greatest challenge will be to find the correct combinations and rotate the squad efficiently. The experience some of the youngsters gained in the Tri-Nations will improve the team immeasurably and should inspire teammates to lofty standards. An interesting selection poser will be at flyhalf where there are three contenders in James, Kruger and Gaffie Du Toit, still regarded by many as the answer to South Africa’s pivot woes. This is a good team accustomed to winning however the very problem of possessing such a myriad of good players to choose from might prove their undoing.
Players likely to shine: Lukas van Biljon – if he is the preferred starter at no 2, the young dynamo will take the confidence from an excellent international season and continue to excel. Andre Snyman – his slow introduction back into top flight rugby should culminate in a return to the kind of form that made him one of the best in his position in the world a couple of years ago.
Blue Bulls: The Vodacom Cup champions are experiencing a renaissance of sorts with attractive running rugby and a wonderful array of young talent. Newly elected Super 12 coach Heyneke Meyer has installed great confidence in the team and their mental approach will be the determining factor in their success. Winning is a habit but so is losing and for the team to be successful in this year’s competition they will need to overcome the effect of recent year’s results. The strength of this province is important to South African rugby and a good showing in the Currie Cup will enhance the region’s chances in the Super 12, they have the talent and skills at their disposal, they need to use it.
Players likely to shine: Victor Matfield - brilliant during the Tri-Nations and Super 12, the man will be a vital cog in the wheel and his lineout prowess will prove instrumental in providing ball for great talent out wide. Jaco van der Westhuizen – one of the “contenders” for the national flyhalf berth, this player possess all the attributes of a natural flyhalf in the way he takes control of the match. He needs to remain injury free to stake a proper claim after all the prospect shown during the 2000 season.
Cheetahs: It is amazing how one of the provinces that perennially produces excellent players and lose them remain in the hunt for higher honours. Coaches Kleynhans and Pienaar manages to do an excellent job every year with a new team and young players but the return of Springbok Johan Erasmus in tandem with Andre Venter might provide the spark for this team to perform. The Cheetas will not win their second Currie Cup in history but many a team will find the going very tough against the men from the Free State.
Players likely to shine: Daan Human – the young frontranker is a fine prospect with a good turn of speed in a position where there are not that many young stars on the horizon. Wylie Human – an explosive wing with loads of confidence after a good Super 12, this Currie Cup could be his coming out party.
Falcons: One of the so called “minnows” of provincial rugby, Phil Pretorius’ team with young “unknowns” will challenge many a more fancied outfit. One of the great advantages of a team without international stars is their ability to work as a team and not individuals but it will be hard pressed for them to win the competition.
Players likely to shine: Adrian Jacobs – the young centre has unbelievable potential and his ability to create and take gaps will leave him a marked player but expect him to flourish in this environment.
Lions: The team has an established combination of power, skills and exciting talent if combined correctly could evolve into a competition-winning outfit. The individuals in the squad have a lot to prove, on both personal and national level and performing in this competition is a good foundation to build from. The forwards are strong and the backline combines the strength of Mulder, Esterhuizen, Hall and Delport with the flair of Jantjes marshaled by Koen the team is difficult to beat when on song and importantly can win away from home.
Players likely to shine: Wikus van Heerden – son of the famous Moaner, the young flanker has the pedigree and ability to make it in partnership with Andre Vos, an excellent player he is definitely one for the future. Conrad Jantjes – with more natural talent than most, the added confidence of being the first choice fullback for his country expect this youngster to make the position his own and prove the reason for the national coach’s confidence in him.
Pumas: Another one of the less fancied teams, the men from Mpumalanga has set the competition alight so far, with no current Springboks they played superbly as a team. A mixture of old Springboks, experienced provincial players and exciting young talent one fancies an upset or two but the top Eight might just exhaust the resources of a province with a limited budget.
Players likely to shine: Nel Fourie – the young flyhalf touted by former great Danie Gerber, his coach as one of the best prospects in this position. He will get his chance to prove his talents against the best teams in the competition, what he needs is a good platform though.
To predict a winner from this lot is a very difficult exercise however we will be assisted by the Big Brother method of elimination, yes the Currie Cup will follow a similar method and certain teams will have to go although not via a popular vote! Imagine what team will be voted off the competition, it should prove a revelation to determine who is the most popular team in the country but then maybe not, the attraction of the Currie Cup is that popularity does not win the competition. So much for reality shows...
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Heroes & Villians by Tom Marcellus
Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of one of the most exhilarating and memorable games of rugby ever played, the fateful Flower Bomb Test at Eden Park, Auckland, between Andy Dalton’s All Blacks and the Springboks, led by the bespectacled Durban architect, Wynand Claassen.
But, as always, let us start at the beginning.
When I was a mere lad, I journeyed with my Dad from our rustic smallholding in the Natal Midlands, across the arid Transvaal mielie triangle and the mighty Limpopo, to wild, woolly, war-torn Rhodesia. The year was 1978 and the Bush War was raging, but what an adventure it was! Our drive from Beit Bridge to Bulawayo was done at break-neck speed to avoid encountering bands of marauding “terrs”, and we had to forego the usual luxury of an armed convey. Once within the leafy comforts of suburban Bulawayo, my Guv’nor was reunited with his old varsity, rugger bugger drinking buddies, who, to a man, were towering, bearded, Madison-chuffing Selous Scouts, raw from the Mukumbura bush. Over chilled chiboolies and crocodile biltong, they regaled us with stories of savage deeds and heroic derring-do in distant jungles, with talk of firefights and parachute drops, hand grenades and FN’s. In between my Dad’s unscheduled sparring bouts with the reigning heavyweight boxing champ (his name was Ringo Starr, but he didn’t care much for the drums) and some hippo hunting on the Mozambique border, I developed a juvenile loyalty to that rugged, beautiful country; a loyalty that I had not yet even felt for the land of my birth.
A year later there appeared in the glorious Green ‘n Gold of the Bokke the living embodiment of this tough, robust, meat-eating country. His name was Mordt, and from the first time that he crashed through Hugo Porta’s attempted tackle to score a try on debut, I knew that my greatest rugger hero had appeared. With an extravagantly talented backline that included Pienaar, Gerber, Botha, Serfontein and this Rhodesian juggernaut, all pumping thighs and brute power, the Boks soon triumphed over the Jaguars, Bill Beaumont’s valiant British Lions, and Ireland. 1980 became 1981, and the greatest challenge of all beckoned – a tour to New Zealand, with the eternal hope of a series victory over the menacing All Blacks.
Let us skip directly to the tumultuous finale to the Boks’ 1981 odyssey to the Land of the Long White Cloud. Continuously harried by anti-apartheid, anti-tour protestors, the Springboks managed to remain unbeaten in all provincial games on the tour, including a memorable Naas Botha-inspired 39-12 victory over Auckland. After a 24-12 victory against the Old Foe in Wellington, the Bok selectors named an unchanged XV for the deciding 3rd test 2 weeks later.
Soon the day of reckoning was upon us, and thousands of Bok supporters in SA fired up their primitive Telefunkens to listen to Andre Snyman and Gerhard Viviers’ live commentary from across the Indian Ocean. But, to the total dismay of this bleary-eyed, 10 year-old boy sitting at home in the backwoods of Natal, the Boks soon found themselves under the whip. Although the All Blacks were operating with their usual venomous efficiency, the Boks were faced with an unexpected, relentless opponent: a seemingly fragile light ‘plane that incessantly spewed forth pamphlets, flares and the occasional flour bomb.
Harried by the Kiwis and the foolhardy flying fokker, the Boks found themselves down 3-16 at half-time, their hopes of emulating Phil Nel’s immortals of 1937 seemingly in tatters. But Mordt & Co had other ideas, and, in an epic rearguard action, the Bok backline finally unleashed its great talents. First, Mordt pounced on a Beck grubber to score, then he evaded fullback Hewson in a solo, chip ‘n score effort, and then, after a midfield burst by Botha, he latched onto a pass to score near the corner flag (22-22). In the meantime, the All Black prop, Gary Knight, had been felled by an errant flour bomb delivered by the part-time Red Baron overhead.
A noble series draw for this beleagured Bok side was denied by the bizarre decisions of referee Norling in the dying minutes of the game. Perhaps, bearing in mind the terrible toll that the tour had rent on the fabric of New Zealand society, the rugby Gods simply felt that it was not to be this time.
Be that as it may, I salute the memory of my boyhood heroes, Claassen and his Bokke, and especially that man Mordt.
Opportunities multiply as they are seized. Sun Tzu
I haven't really read the papers, but if they're going to call you this superhuman rugby player or whatever and you believe it, then you should also believe it when they call you a tosser. Martin Johnson
You can't have a prop playing hooker, they're not intelligent enough! Ross Nesdale
I've been watching Sven Goran Eriksson. I realise his pond is far bigger than mine, but there are similarities. Graham Henry
We've been together three and a half days and we haven't been to the pub yet. Donal Lenihan on the difference between the professional 2001 Lions, and his 1989 squad.
Letters to the Editor
I'm joining the debate about Butch James as Bok flyhalf. Everybody is up in arms to get him kicked out of the side. Has anyone actually looked at reason why he does not perform at international level?
1) Then service he received from Davidson during the S12 was crisp and fast. The service received from Joost ( when he was at scrumhalf) was slow. To often do you see Paulse, Kempson, Vos and Venter play scrumhalf, because Joost is not there.
2) In only 2 tests did the forwards dominate to such an extent that James received ball going forward. These were the better tests he played.
3) Is the "pattern" the Boks are trying to play impeding his natural ability. He was brilliant for the Sharks. Does a player get so bad in two weeks?
Think again people. This one of the potential greats of the game.
Wat gaan aan...Ek weet self nie meer nie. Wat ek wel weet is, dat ons Bokke hulself tussen niks en erens bevind ? Almal praat van as dit, of, as die... Probeer 'n slag die regte kombinasies, en hou daarby. Mens kan nie 6-spanne in een jaar he nie. Harry...Groot sablief !!
15 Conrad Jantjes
14 Breyton Paulse
13 Andre Snyman
12 Robbie Fleck
11 Thinus Delport
10 Braam van Straaten
8 Bobby Skinstad
7 Andre Venter
6 Corne Krige
5 Mark Andrews
4 Victor Matfield
3 Cobus Visagie
2 Lukas van Biljon
1 Robbie Kempson
Reserwes: Trevor Halstead, Chris Rossouw, Neil de Kock, Andre Vos, Victor Matfield, John Smit, Toks van der Linde
Ek stem saam: "Braam is 'n tydelike oplossing" (en n goeie een ook). Is dit nie dalk tyd om Chris bietjies vir bietjies groot te maak om eendag oor te neem nie. Die wat sal kla oor Braam, onthou julle ons beste oorwinning nog oor die All Blacks...ja, Braam was losskakel. Kleintjips moet dan net dat Braam hom bietjie wysmaak oor hoe jy jou tokse vasmaak.
Groetnis tot n volgende braai, Castle en rugby.
Goeie môre Ed.
Wel nogmaals dankie vir die goeie werk wat jy met rugby forum doen.Wel net so klein vragie,"is dit nie dalk moontlik dat jy 'n "Log" met die volgende games (waar en wanneer) en en vorige games se punte ook vir ons kan by voeg nie."?As dit te moelik is om al die inligting te kry is dit ok.
Wel verder wil ek maar net sê goeie werk en hou so aan.
Kan enigiemand vir my laat weet wie die Tri-nationspan vir 2001 saamgestel
het. Op grond waarvan verdien Bobby Skinstadt sy plek in die uitgelese
span?? Is dit omdat hy 'n drie geruk het teen die Aussies in Suid-Afrika??? En
waar is André Vos? Het Owen Finegan beter as Vos gevaar?? Hoe sou Vos
geskitter het in die Wallaby span. Die 2 slotte in die "sg." span is
ook paloekas - John Eales is al 'n paar jaar oor sy beste en Vic Matfield
speel meer in die agterlyn as wat hy sy werk daar voor in die skrum doen.
Enige rugbygeesdriftige met gesonde verstand WEET dat Johan Ackermann tonne
beter as Vic Matfield is. En is Cobus Visagie werklik beter as
Willie Meyer - ek betwyfel dit.
Great Issue this week. Yeah the Wallabies beat us in Sydney and I'm all cried out about that one. That's over now and to John Eales you are in a class of your own and I am not worthy to sit in your company.
Rugby Forum I enjoy your magazine and wish to apologize for the things I am about to say to one of your readers who has sent you a letter. I don't believe that this forum should be used as a battle ground for sledging and will try to keep it as clean as possible as I do not wish to compromise the quality of the magazine, however I do wish that you publish the letter in your following edition.
Tappe Henning - Someone tell me again when he passed the referee exam.
In response to the letter from Frans:-
You asked the question in your letter ("am I missing something here or am I jut plain Stupid") There is an answer to your question, but first I would like to set you another question. Are you the same debile who said that Jonah Lomu couldn't defend and wasn't half as good a player as is Stefan Terblanche? - Nuff said!!!
Oxford Concise Dictionary "debile" someone with an IQ below 30.
One other thing, I don't support the Springboks but don't turn on the team that I am supporting the way that you did. You can say that a performance was disappointing or that the performance was dismal but don't call the players and the captain pathetic, if you're so great then I'm looking forward to seeing you in next years Super 12
NB:! Should you wish to respond to me personally then please e-mail me direct, you may ask Rugby Forum for my e-mail address
Na die laaste brief aan jou het ek my voorgeneem om nie weer oor Springbokrugby, die afrigter, die hulpafrigter, die raadgewer, die spindokter, die fisioterapeut, die bagasiemeester en die skeidsregter te kla nie. Maar ek kan nie meer stilbly nie. Ek hoop ek is nie al een wat die gedagtes huldig nie. Ek is om die minste te sê ontnugter en teleurgesteld. Ek het na die Super 12 gedink hier kom 'n ding. Ek het nooit kon dink dat ek 'n TV stel sal afskakel, terwyl die Springbokke rugby speel en in die middel van winter die grassnyer uit die motorhuis haal en die te "start" nie.
1. Niemand moet vir my kom sê ons bou span vir 2003 nie. Wat maak ons intussen? Ek is bly ons het nie hierdie jaar teen Morokko gespeel nie.
2. Moenie met my praat oor invalshoeke, hardlooplyne en verdedigingshoeke nie. Ek wil graag weet wat is dit. Die kortse pad tussen twee punte is 'n reguit lyn, en so is die pad doellyn toe.
3. Is daar nog so 'n ding soos voorspelers en agterspelers. Ek sien meer voorspelers tussen die senters staan as die agterspelers tussen mekaar staan.
4. Wat het geword van jy duik jou teenstander dat hy met bal en al grond toe gaan? (Ek het rugby gespeel, jy het 'n ou geduik, die bal gevat en so met die weghardloop nog die ou getrap ook) As jy die game verloor wen dan tog in vadersnaam die fight.
5. Die wyse manne praat van eksplosiewe spelers. Wat is dit. Ons het nie juis explode nie maar inplode.
6. Ek laat my nie vertel die basiese beginsel van rugby het verander nie. Jy het agt, let wel agt voorspelers wat, let wel, werk vir 'n bal, en jy het sewe agterspelers wat draers met flair is. (Sien ook punt no 4)
7. Jy het nie sirkusnarre nodig wat vir skeidregters hande klap en staan en stry nie. Jy het ook nie laventelhane nodig wat in tydskrifte verskyn saam met skamel geklede dames op die strand nie.
8. Wat is die doel van die spel? Om geld te maak? Om kaalbors in tydskrifte te verskyn?
Ek blameer nie een speler nie. Ek sê die span is verkeerd gekies. Wil die SARFU manne konsert hou of wil hulle die rugbypubliek begin vervreem van die spel af? Die jong kinders sien hoe die spel gespeel word.
Menere die keurders, afrigter, administrateurs en laaste maar nie die minste, ou skoonseun, pas op dat die rugbypubliek nie gaan gatvol raak vir julle manewales nie. Ek sê nog, 'n vis vrot van sy kop af.
Al wie die meeste geld uit my gemaak het gedurende die afgelope drienasie reeks is die borge.
Groete uit my losie.
NS. Daar is ander bonde bahalwe die WP wat ook goeie , indien nie beter rugbyspelers het.
My Bokspan :
15.Thinus Delport Jantjes is 'n uitstekende speler. Sy lynskopwerk en positionele spel is beter as Delport s'n, maar Delport is 'n baie sterk hardloper en kan uit niks uit 'n drie maak of druk. Die Bok-agterlyn kort so 'n sterk hardloper van agter.Jantjes is my tweede keuse as heelagter.
14.Breyton Paulse Paulse en Hall is maklik die 2 beste vleuls in die land. As Delport op vleul oorweeg word is hy nie ver agter hulle nie.
13.Dries Scholtz **Fleck is beseer**, 'n Sterk hardloper. In heedandaagse rugby soek jy 100kg senters wat sterk en vinnig is. Kan 'n dodelike kombinasie met Halstead vorm.
12.Trevor Halstead Was by verre die beste binnesenter in die Super 12 van SA. 'n Sterk hardloper, verdediger en goeie balverspreider.
11.Dean Hall Ons eie Lomu.Al verskil is, Hall is honger om te speel en doen als volspoed.
10.Braam van Straaten Jy kan nie 'n toets sonder 'n erkende stelskopper speel nie. Daar is 'n paar belowende losskakels in SA, maar nie een is puik stelskoppers nie.SARFU moet als in hul mag doen om te keer dat Braam nie aan die einde van die seisoen oorsee rugby gaan speel nie. SA het hom nog nodig. Hy is 'n beter losskakel as senter.
9.Joost van der Westuizen De Kock het seker die vinnigste diens in SA, maar Joost se ervaring,verdediging en onvoorspelbaarheid maak hom 'n doring in die opposisie se vlees.
8.Bob Skinstad(Captain) Een van die wêreld se bestes.
7.André Venter Sal sy sokkies moet optrek,want spelers soos AJ Venter en Johann van Niekerk blaas in sy nek. Sy ervaring maak hom tans net-net beter as AJ Venter.AJ se dissipline laat hom soms in die steek. Ek sal graag vir Van Niekerk om nommer 7 vir Leeus wil sien speel.
6.Johan Erasmus Een van die beste losvoorspelers in die wêreld. Moes nooit uitgelaat gewees het nie.
5.Andrews Een van die beste slotte in wêreldrugby. Solank hy fiks bly kan hy nog lank vir SA speel.
4.Victor Matfield Uitstekend in die lynstane en goeie balspeler.
3.Cobus Visagie SA het nie vaskoppe in dieselfde klas as hy nie. Willie Meyer is 2de beste.
2.Lukas van Biljon Het uitstekend vir SA gespeel tot dusver.
1.Rob Kempson Doen die basise werk wat van hom verwag word goed. Toks is egter nie ver agter hom nie. Sal graag vir Smit op stut vir die Sharks wil sien. Daan Human lyk nie sleg nie.
16.Deon Kayser Kan senter en vleul dek. Adrian Jacobs toon ook groot belofte.
17.Percy Montgomery Monty kan losskakel en heelagter dek. As Gaffie weer topfiks is kan hy met goeie spel vir Monty op die bank lig en dalk teen die einde van die seisoen vir Braam.
18.Craig Davidson Selfde tipe speler as Joost. Sy taktiese skopwerk is puik en hy is gevaarlik op die aanval. De Kock is 3de beste.
19.AJ Venter Uitstekende speler.Sterk hardloper en goeie balspeler. Sy dissipline laat hom soms in die steek. Johann van Niekerk toon ook groot belofte.
20.Albert van den Bergh Uitstekend in die lynstane en goeie impakspeler.
21.Toks van der Linde Lyk baie goed die seisoen. Ek sal graag vir John Smit op stut vir Natal wil sien. Hy kan vaskop en loskop speel en dit kan hom 'n plek op die bank besorg as stut en plek maak vir Dalton op haker.
22.John Smit Dalton is ons 2de beste haker, maar is tans buite aksie.
Kan u miskien vir my Francois Davids of Wynand Claasens se e-pos adres gee?
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