Rugby Forum
  Volume 1 - Week 38  
Brilliant!  A turbulent year for Harry Viljoen’s Springboks is nearing its end with the final test against one of the top 5 countries in world rugby. And what a statement… England is ranked by most pundits as the number 1 team on this here planet and their performances of late make it hard to disagree. Regardless of previous results or current form this epic battle promises to be an experience measured on the Richter scale!
South Africa may have an advantage in terms of matches won in this the 21st clash between these two teams (W 12, L 7, D 1) but they are facing a hat trick of losses for the first time since the rivalry began in 1906. Statistics are obviously a dangerous past time and records are meant to be broken so lets analyse the two teams combating on Saturday.
Clive Woodward’s England has emerged, as a team capable of playing many different types of rugby and the biggest contributing factors are Jonny Wilkinson and a strong, disciplined pack of forwards. Firstly, Wilkinson; the young man is arguably the best flyhalf in world rugby today, aggressive on defence he possesses superb running skills, silky distribution and a potent kicking game that brand him his countries leading points scorer at the tender age of 22. Rob Andrew MBE took a lifetime (or so it seemed!) to accumulate the points young Jonny raced past in his third year of international football. The young general has the ability to dictate play and ensure the game is played in the opponents half, when there the scorers are kept busy through a variety of scoring methods, he can kick drop goals with both feet and boasts an impressive success rate in attempts at goal. Tactically gifted he reads the play well and his juxtaposition with Mike Catt smacks of the old Honiball/Joubert axis employed by the Sharks and Springboks. Jonny is definitely the most dangerous player for the Springboks hope of victory but 80% of his success is due to the England pack.
The English pack in the last decade or so has cemented its reputation as a strong, well drilled and effective unit capable of producing quality ball for a succession of match winning flyhalves. The early nineties saw great forwards like Teague, Winterbottom, Ackford, Dooley and Moore set lofty standards on the world stage and this strength was maintained by the likes of Johnson, Leonard, Dallaglio and Back in the latter half. The names are familiar because they are still playing, wich brings us to another strength; the consistency in selection ensure confidence in their own and each other’s ability and with one John Mitchell setting certain standards during the early Woodward reign the momentum was always there to perform well. The English pack also plays very intelligent rugby and this is the result of the scrumhalf’s leadership role. In English rugby the halfback is acknowledged and groomed as a decision maker not necessarily a match winner through individual brilliance hence the omission of Matt Dawson. Bracken adds solidity, a superb linking game and less flashiness to correctly apply the hard won possession.
There has been the odd hiccup or two over the past few seasons in important matches but England now has the personnel, confidence and attitude to top the world rugby scene for a while. Obviously there is a process in place and structures to deal with and achieve the common goal of winning a World Cup.
The Springboks… the coach, team selection and play has received a lot of coverage in this publication as in all the sites and press. The question is, are the Springboks capable of winning this match? In the current team, based on form over the past few matches it is very difficult to find collective strengths or individual brilliance capable of winning a match against one of the top teams in rugby.
The demerits are well documented and needs only passing reflection; there is no continuity in selection, there are precious few working combinations and the game plan is as veiled as a Taliban wife. The much vaunted and relatively successful Tri Nations pack has turned into a group of 50-50 ball popping, possession spilling laggards incapable of enforcing a pattern. The halfbacks are slow and weak in their primary function, which is linking between the forwards and the backline although defensively solid, are more likely to pick up bargains on Kensington High Street than tries at Twickers.
After all that it is difficult to see any strengths but there are a few, for one Braam van Straaten is more than a match for Jonny Wilkinson in the goal-kicking department, if the Springboks earn penalties in the English half Braampie will ensure the ball travels through the uprights. The Springbok defence is excellent and a tribute to Less Kiss, the lineouts are very good and with Mark Andrews, Bob Skinstad and Victor Matfield this could be the only source of quality possession if John Smit can keep his wits about him. The English scrum will not be dominated by anything less than a superhuman effort so this phase should be even on the day, even the backline can hold more than their own in terms of power and speed, another stale mate. Where will the game be won or lost?
The broken play is the key to the match on Saturday, Andre Vos will have to play the biggest game of his life and the rest of the loose forwards (remember the days when the rest of the world would have killed for our loosies, last year was it?) must ensure that phases are created with the patience of a Gary Kasparov. The driving mauls and rucks must be regulated and controlled by Joost while simply no possession is turned over. It sounds straightforward and it is really, the only problem is this concept is foreign to the incumbents as they have been unable to do it in the previous two tests.
The final factor and usually the long stop of SA rugby is the sheer dogged determination of a Springbok team well aware of the castigation they will receive upon their return after another defeat. Pride and honour is the one common ingredient regarded as paramount for a victory on Saturday, the Springboks with the odds heaped against them can alter their destiny with 80 minutes of hard graft for only one afternoon in the county of Middlesex.
Good luck to the Springboks and hopefully they can produce the type of rugby that will make their supporters proud and filled with dignity in victory or defeat.


A Test of Character by Mark Foster
The beautiful wine lands of Stellenbosch, ancestral home of South African rugby is a benign setting to watch a Springbok test. The shadow of Paul Roos and Doc Craven and the many players who represented their country with distinction loom large in this student town and amongst the vino there is a lot of veritas. Harry Viljoen and his team discovered a little bit of it on Saturday.
The Italians as is their want were passionate, committed and good value for money in the first thirty minutes. A superb forward effort and accurate kicking from “thirty something” Diego Dominguez reduced the Springboks to something less than ordinary as disbelieving supporters groaned and cursed through the very same flow of errors that typified their performance in Paris. The South African’s ball retention was sloppy, handling errors although far less was a prominent part of their repertoire and the silly chip kick into non-existent space highly frustrating never mind hazardous!
The tide thankfully did turn and with the Italians reduced to 14 men, Joost scored one of his trademark tries to spark a revival and much needed impetus of decent, phased rugby. Suddenly the Springboks remembered what they’ve been training for and the floodgates opened with Trevor Halstead running in two tries, Dean Hall scored a long overdue first try and a few forwards joined in on the act with the best effort a superb 85m try finished off by Victor Matfield.
The truth be told, this performance although not earth shattering was far more heartening than a week ago. Agreed, the opposition was less formidable than a French team who beat the World Champion Australians later the same evening but there were enough glimpses of the kind of rugby the Springboks are capable of playing. There remain a great deal of flaws and an incomprehensible deviation of the advertised game plan, both will ensure that Harry’s hairdresser apply ample colouring fluids before next week’s appointment with England.
Talking about the Red Roses of England, after a world record romp over Romania their confidence should be sky high for the Springbok’s visit at Twickenham on Saturday. The RFU headquarters has become an indomitable fortress for touring Southern Hemisphere teams and the Springbok’s efforts over the last two weeks will hardly leave the English squad quaking in their boots. Clive Woodward’s preparation will not deviate much from the game plan that stifled Australia; its based on forward dominance, the tactical brilliance and reliability of Jonny Wilkinson combined with enterprising runners in Luger, Catt, Healy and Robinson.
Can the Springboks overcome the insuperable? The England team may suffer from a mild bout of complacency although the expected return of Johnson and fresh memories from the defeat against Ireland should eradicate any such thoughts. The Springboks may want to take a leaf from the book of their old foes the All Blacks, England’s nemesis, by scoring points as early as possible. Ball retention must be paramount, decision making sharp and needless to say turnovers kept to an absolute minimum, even then their general performance must be upped by a considerable margin to overcome the stoic England resolve. If the match turns into a war of attrition the English pack and Wilkinson’s boot should grind out a victory.
The match on Saturday will be Harry Viljoen’s Rubicon; a positive result will go a long way to redeem a muddled selection policy and the player’s confused execution of a highly dubious game plan into a workable and winning solution for Springbok rugby. The coach, from his point of view unfortunately can’t play the match for the players, the individuals in the Springbok team need to stand and deliver, both the experienced and the new must vindicate their coach’s trust and selection.
The Springboks are facing an acid test of character in London and for Bob Skinstad and his boys this will be the ideal opportunity to transform into men capable of upholding the rich and glorious tradition of Springbok rugby.

"Let us now praise famous men" by Tom Marcellus

Sadly, it will probably be a little-known fact in the Bok camp that this Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest 80 minutes in all of our long and proud rugby history.  As Bob and his troops in the Green 'n Gold mull over the looming struggle against England, let us revisit that epic afternoon and the lead character in its unfolding drama….  

On Saturday, 24 November 1951, the Springboks took to the field for the first test of their tour of the British Isles.  The Scots XV was a young side, but its 19-0 victory over Wales the previous season indicated that it should not be a team to be brushed aside easily.  The setting for the contest was a cool, breezy Murrayfield – considering the ungodly slaughter that was to follow, it might as well have been Culloden Moor. 

The Boks were led out of the tunnel for the first time by their No 8, grim-faced, gaunt and demonic-looking.  To nearby Scots, not yet familiar with the tourists, even one so noticeably wild-eyed, the match programme showed that the visiting skipper's name was HSV Muller.  Considering his humble upbringing, so grand an appellation was deceiving.  To his friends he was known as Hennie, and to a generation of suitably reverent fans simply as the "Windhond".

Okey Geffin followed his skipper out of the tunnel, with Chris Koch, that "galloping juggernaut", not far behind.  The rest of the Boks jogged out onto the squishy Murrayfield pitch for the anthems.  Brewis, Du Toit, Du Randt, Osche, Fry, Van Wyk.

The history books will show that the swashbuckling Boks put the young Scots team well and truly to the sword.  The final score was 44-0 and Scotland, as the legend goes, "were lucky to get nil".  In Springbok rugby folklore, the game soon became known as "the Murrayfield Massacre", and afterwards Scottish players described how the sudden change of gear by the Bok pack midway through the 1st half had been "like an avalanche".  The rout continued into the 2nd half, as the dazed Scots could only look on in horror as the score approached the half-century mark – an unheard of feat in those days.  To one commentator, the Scots players "seemed like men wandering around in a foreign town."

Although he played many better personal games, that famous victory over Scotland was the hollow-cheeked, remorseless eighthman's finest hour.  Doc Craven, who coached him throughout his test career, often told how Muller wept with pride in the Murrayfield dressing-room after the tartan hordes had been obliterated with such brutal efficiency by his team.

Of course, it must be remembered that 2 years earlier, Muller had almost single-handedly destroyed the hopes of Fred Allan's visiting All Blacks.  After his reign of terror in the 4-0 series whitewash, Muller was described by contemporary sportswriters – even one-eyed Kiwi's – as "a genius in the loose", "a menace of menaces", and "here, there and everywhere".  As the sportswriter Norman Canale so richly describes in a recent article, "There was invariably a hum of expectancy in the crowd as Hennie stood at the back of the lineout in that characteristic hands-on-hips pose, his distinctive blond hair a spotlight, his eyes darting warnings at the opposing flyhalf, already twitchy at the menace lurking close by." 

Bob Scott, the great All Black fullback wrote of Muller that "So long as he stopped an All Black, that was all that mattered; what happened to himself was of no importance, least of all to himself.  This is a state of mind beyond normal ken."  And again later: "I doubt rugby will ever see Muller's likes again.  He is as fast as a track sprinter and as alert and as hungry as a hawk.  And on top of everything, he is completely fearless and quite ruthless."

Muller played rugby for keeps because rugby, the glory of the Green 'n Gold, and winning, were important things in his life.  By his own admission, he even stopped speaking to his wife 3 days before an important test match because he was too busy scoring tries in his head to be able to afford chitchats.  His marauding play in the loose and teeth-rattling tackles were legendary, and many a young opposing centre heard first a sudden pounding of boots, only to be followed by an unexpected steam-rollering by a blonde blur.

As Canale tells us, the country reverberated with hallelujahs whenever Muller played for the Boks.  Craven, not the easiest man to please, could barely contain himself when discussing Muller.  "To rugby, Hennie is a Superman", he once said.  It was Craven who gave Muller the sobriquet of "Windhond", and it was apt.  At 6ft and only 195lbs, Muller had the lean and hungry look of a greyhound when in full flight after the hare.

The end came swiftly for the Windhond, who died suddenly of heart failure while addressing a primary school in Cape Town in 1977.  He was only 55.  Craven, who had shared so many triumphs and a few disappointments, struggled to control his emotions when paying tribute to him shortly after hearing of his death.  "Hennie Muller was probably the fastest Springbok I have ever seen," he said softly.  "He was finely strung and emotional, a strong man who nevertheless could and did cry tears of sorrow and joy.  Hennie, without any doubt, was one of the greatest players the world has seen.  We South Africans can be proud that such a man was one of us."

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Changing Times by Desmond Organ
In recent weeks, several events have changed the face of the game of Rugby Union. Perhaps it began with Clive Woodward, when he stepped beyond the boundaries of traditional post match diplomacy, or it could have been the Puma’s second consecutive victory in as many weeks. Forget the bias that inevitably comes from journalists north and south of the equator; we are living in changing times.
No longer are the Puma’s, a team of so-called professional players, plying their trade in the professional clubs around the world. The French have lived up to their true potential, the Australians are beaten in consecutive matches, and the best team in the world is? Unfortunately, we are also witnessing the inevitable gap between the traditional rugby countries, and those that are just not at the same level. Anybody watching the game between England and Rumania will have seen a demolition of epic proportions, similar to the one that occurred when New Zealand destroyed Japan in 1995.
There will be those that question the viability of watching a national team receive a hiding, but it is in the interests of the game to narrow the divide. Without these games, rugby will never become a truly global game. In the four World Cup competitions, there has never been a winner from the northern hemisphere, the southern hemisphere teams, with the exception of France, have dominated the competition. On the basis of the results of recent weeks, one could argue that France or England have a good chance of winning the competition in the future.
Italy’s inclusion in the premier northern hemisphere competition has been applauded by some, ridiculed by others, but they are getting better at the game. South Africa, despite their selection inconsistencies, is a power house in the game. Italy, however matched them in the first half of the match, and they were a lot better than the Italian team that lost to England in the Six Nations. The match between Ireland and New Zealand was a far closer affair than the final score indicated. Scotland, as has happened in the past, lost to a team we would have expected them to beat.
There has been a globilisation of the game in the last several years, coaches and players are no longer remaining in their countries of birth, lured by the contracts of the professional game. Coaches from New Zealand are at the helm of Italy, Ireland and Wales. At the club level, specifically in the English domestic competition, there are players and coaches from around the world. The French leagues have provided numerous opportunities for players from around the globe.
The domination of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa is being eroded by the forces of professionalism. Time will tell if this is another flirtation with success in England. France, however, is right up there and Italy could surpass Scotland, Wales and Ireland in years, not decades.

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Test Teams for Saturday
South Africa VS England
Conrad Jantjes 15 Jason Robinson
Breyton Paulse 14 Austin Healey
Trevor Halstead 13 Will Greenwood
Braam van Straaten 12 Mike Catt
Dean Hall 11 Dan Luger
Louis Koen 10 Jonny Wilkinson
Joost van der Westhuizen 9 Kyran Bracken
Bob Skinstad (captain) 8 Joe Worsley
AJ Venter 7 Richard Hill
Andre Vos 6 Neil Back
Mark Andrews 5 Danny Grewcock
Victor Matfield 4 Martin Johnson (captain)
Willie Meyer 3 Graham Rowntree
John Smit 2 Dorian West
Ollie le Roux. 1 Phil Vickery
Lukas van Biljon 16 Mark Regan
Corne Krige 17 Jason Leonard
Cobus Visagie 18 Ben Kay
Andre Venter 19 Lewis Moody
Andre Snyman 20 Charlie Hodgson
Deon de Kock 21 Ben Cohen
Percy Montgomery 22 Mike Tindall

Match Briefs
France vs Australia
The port of Marseilles became the latest graveyard for a flailing Australian side when the French youth brigade scored a stunning victory over the “everything but the Cook Cup champions”. The victory was well deserved and magnificently crafted, proving that the performance against the Springboks a week ago was no fluke.
The French pack dominated their counterparts with strong driving and excellent control inspired by the commanding presence of Olivier Magne reminiscent of the great Jean Pierre Reeves. A rugby match as usual is won in the front row and Crenca, De Villiers and Ibanez enforced French law over the poor Wallabies.
At the back new cap Michalak played intelligent football with a confidence and air of somebody far more experienced and older. The only blemish was his poor kicking at goal, thankfully for the Wallabies the French missed five opportunities and the scoreline was far more flattering than the play suggested.
Bernard Laporte is spoilt for choice with a great combination of youth and experience and with careful management this squad can evolve into serious RWC contenders. He seems to enjoy complete support from his management and his process contains both vision and results. As the flavour of the moment he can do no wrong but by setting a standard he faces the biggest historical problem of French rugby – consistency. If he can accomplish consistency the battle will be halfway won.
The Australians struggled to gain momentum and involve their dangerous backs with bizarre tactics to play back into traffic and ignore the space created out wide. The French figured their plan out early and with strong defence snuffed every attempt at the premature switching of the attacking angle.
Eddie Jones, understandably was not happy with the performance and a fantastic year for the Australians deserved a better ending and maybe just maybe this tour was a hurdle to far for this champion team. Defeats against England and France are not a disgrace only a serious dent to the confidence.
Man of the match:    Damien Traille

Ireland vs New Zealand
The beautiful Lansdowne Road is a magnificent setting for a test match and the Irish supporters filled the old stadium with high anticipation and glee. The famous All Blacks, unbeaten against Ireland, performed their Haka with gusto yet the men in green eyed them with a fair amount of confidence after a good win over England a few weeks ago. 
The match began with high fervor as is the Irish want and with Keith Wood spearheading an impressive forward performance David Humphries controlled the match with his boot but pressure is worth nothing if not converted into points and the old Oxford pivot displayed impressive form with dropped goals and penalties. The All Blacks were forced to turn around a lot and contain the wave of aggression however somehow they remained quite composed.
The Irish were good value for money in the first half and deserved their healthy lead but in the second half the All Blacks came into their own. Richard McCaw, and Anton Oliver boosted impressive work rates and the ample ball recycled by a close knit, hunting pack was utilized with telling effect by the backs. Jonah Lomu, well contained during the match created a try and scored the inevitable with his combination of raw power and speed. The highly speculated intervention from the NZRFU to include him against the coach’s wishes seem to have inspired the “big fella” to a better performance.
Ireland lost concentration for a while and could not match the higher intensity of a very hungry looking Kiwi team and inevitably this cost them the match. The very fact that they were so disappointed after the match reflected their high expectation but this was not a performance to be ashamed of, the test was one of the better matches the Irish team ever played. 
The All Blacks looked a different side from the Tri Nations outfit, John Mitchell has definitely instilled some of the good old values in the team and with a large representation of Canterbury, the NPC champions, the team played very well together. The deficit at halftime must have been a big worry for a new coach in his first test and the game could easily have slipped away from the All Blacks however an excellent performance overall augurs well for the new reign.
Man of the Match:     Richard McCaw

As for South Africa, it is impossible to advocate a case for them. Since the emergence of Harry Viljoen as coach, the Springboks have promised a great deal and delivered very little.    Stuart Barnes
The Australians have been kings of the world, but time does not stand still. With successive losses, Jones has been handed the latch to the trapdoor. He must pull it.     Greg Gowden
It is an indication of England's powerful run in the past 18 months and of South Africa's current lack of real assurance - let alone their historical arrogance - that England are firm favourites to win with the bookmakers.    Stephen Jones
It was clear that, once the All Blacks had collected their wits and secured their bearings, they are the likely winners of the next World Cup under yet another grim-visaged coach in John Mitchell.     Allan Watkins
The only solution was to tell first-choice players that they wouldn't play for France anymore if they didn't change their ways. Some of them got the message. They now are among the best players in the world.        Bernard Laporte

Letters to the Editor
Dear Ed
Overheard this joke in the pub;  a South African was sitting with an Australian and a Kiwi in Saudi Arabia, sharing a smuggled barrel of beer watching a game of rugby, when all of a sudden, Saudi police entered and arrested them.
They were initially sentenced to death but they contested this and were finally imprisoned for life. But, as it was a national holiday, the Sheik decided they should be released after receiving 20 lashes of the whip.
As they were preparing for their punishment, the Sheik suddenly said: "It's my first wife's birthday today, and she asked me to allow each of you one wish before your whipping."
So the Kiwi guy thought for a while and then said: "Please tie a pillow to my back." This was done but the pillow only lasted 10 lashes before the whip went through.
The Australian, watching the scene, said: "Please fix two pillows on my back". But even two pillows could only take 15 lashes before the whip went through again.
Before the South African could say something, the Sheik turned to him and said: "As you are from a beautiful country, and your rugby and cricket teams are terrific, and your women beautiful you can have two wishes!".
"Thank you, Most Royal and Merciful Highness", The South African replies. "My first wish is:I would like to have 40 lashes." "If you so desire", the Sheik replies with a questioning look on his face, "and your second wish?"
"Tie the Aussie to my back."
Shame, the poor Wallabies are getting it from all sides, it makes for a wonderful change!
Ed Thornhill

Hi there Ed, from the land of the wrong white crowd!!  Ooops!!  just joking!

Hey, reading all the comments like Editor's note,  Mark Foster, Tom Marcellus and co.  I agree 200% specially with Desmond Organ and I quote him: (Actually it was my own match opinion - Ed)

"BS: Harry Viljoen embarked on a process and the word sounding more and more like procrastinate has lulled the players and some supporters into a false sense of security that there is time in building a team capable of winning RWC 2003.........
The problem is though, the Springboks have taken numerous batterings this year; can anyone withstand such punishment and dare hope to bounce back? Character it will take and it is up to the CC combination (captain and coach) to turn the ship, if they can't do it they don't deserve to be in that position."
I have mentioned on numerous times about the captain and the coach!

1. I read Bobby saying during an interview that the team did not play according to plan!  Well,  when did he realize that,  during or after the game? - wake up and smell the coffee dudes!  Where was the captain then? Seems some does not know the job description of a captain - LEAD YOUR BLOODY TROOPS PAL - my magtag Bobby wil jy pin-up boy speel of rugby?  Besluit nou en vinnig ook want ons is gatvol!
2. Viljoen has no idea of selection and team sports!  I can do a much better job than he can ever dream to do and by the way vertel vir Hendri (letter at bottom) met respek dat daar is 'n engelse gesegde wat lui: " ACTION SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS" Harry,  we are tired of talk, talk,talk, We want results mate RESULTS - end of blinking story ou PAL!! Otherwise get off your backside and handover before its to late ( maybe it is already)
By the way my second issue! I saw on Sky tv the other night a soccer match in England (getting better watching for various reasons) where the ref handed a yellow card INSTEAD of red for a incident.  He the ref was charged in front of the soccer governing body and demoted to a lower division (maybe pay as well - don't know) for this poor decision making during that match.
Oh,  boy isn't it HIGHTIME for this to happen to these poor performances of certain refs in  International Rugby Union.  God knows I've seen refs blatantly not forcing the rules (depending on who's who?) and let players get away with murder and in such cases it could only do the game good if there is consistency. Remember how players got yellow cards for blatant high tackles and the tackled player lands in hospital  with a fractured jaw and another a red card for a minor offence? Half the International refs are pathetic to say the least and I must admit that the N/H refs are doing by far better than some of these around NZ$, As and SA!

Hey, got to go!!
Springbok Supporter!

Dear Ed
I was bitterly disappointed with the Boks performance against France.  Worse, however, was when interviewed about the match Braam v Straaten indicated that his opinion as to why the Boks did not perform was the fact that we had a couple of new guys in the side. They could not get it together because of this.
On reflection I think Braam was right. What we needed were about ten new guys. Maybe then we could be like the French and apply some initiative and ball skills and win.
Why is it that most of the public can see the huge flaws in our selection and coaching style but our selectors and coach are blind. It must be time for new selectors and maybe a new coach. Who in his right mind would play slap tjips, motgommery and j(d)oost.
Where are the strong men and where the hell is a ball fetcher. We continue with a bunch of loose and tight forwards who want to play fly half or centre. Why can't we train our guys to drive the opposition off the loose ball like all the other successful sides do?
We are kak and play kak. It is time to change radically.

Dear Ed
Based on the Springboks test performances to-date for 2001, there is no doubt in my mind that Springbok rugby is ranked a dismal 5th position behind Australia, England, New Zealand and France. Luckily the Boks are not playing Wales, Ireland or Scotland on this tour which could have placed the Boks ranking amongst the rats and mice of rugby playing nations.
It must be great for international sides to know that they can field seven new caps or a team barely at full strength through injuries and still have more than a 50% chance of beating the Boks.
Although it is hard to say this but all praise must go to England on the way in which they have clawed their way back to the top ranks of international rugby. The England/Australia game was a true testimony of great hard fought rugby. Eventhough Australia where defeated they where not humiliated and managed to score two tries to nil. In my view there where no losers in this game.
Maybe it is time that we put our pride aside and realise that the much needed Springbok coach to save the sinking ship is to be found beyond our shores. If the country's soccer side can have a foreign coach, why cannot Springbok rugby. Players who leave our shores to play abroad is no different to what happens in soccer and other sports, and it it is time that SARFU catches a wake up.

Geagte Redakteur.
Een ding kan ek met sekerheid sê. Die Suid Afrikaanse rugby publiek kan vergeet van die glorie dae van Springbok Rugby en die wen van 'n Drie Nasie en of Wêreldbeker. Ek is 'n aartsoptimis indien daar  'n wonderwerk plaasvind hoop ek, sluk ek my woorde. Vergun my die geleentheid om my stellings te motiveer.
1.    Met 'n regime wat insentiewe vir Rugby Unies voorstel soos onlangs gedoen is, sien ek net moeilikheid. Subtiele druk van regeringskant af.
2.    Met 'n sportbeleid van spanne wat die samestelling van die bevolking verteenwoordig. As ek 'n begaafde sportman was, sou ek groener weivelde gesoek het.
3.    Daar bestaan nie interaksie tussen die rugby ondersteuner en SARVU nie. Wat wil die publiek hê? Die persoon wat gereeld op die pawiljoen gesit het, het ook seker 'n sê of nie.
4.    Verkeerde spankeuses van die keurders en afrigter. Ons is nie onnosel nie, al lyk dit so. Luister na die publiek en kyk wyer as net sekere unies.
5.    Wat van proewe? Waarom nie weer proewe instel nie. 'n Goeie provinsiale speler in nie noodwendig 'n goeie internasionale speler nie. Daar is genoeg bewyse daarvan in die huidige Springbokspan.
My keuses as spelers is as volg:
Heelagters.        Tinus Delport, Peach (Olifante)
Vleuels:            B Paulse, F Lombard, W Human, S Terblanche, Jan Harm van Wyk
Senters:            F Welsch, G Esterhuizen, A Snyman, A Jacobs, B Bobo, T Halstead, Heidtman (Bulldogs)
Losskakels:        G du Toit, B James
Skrumskakels:    G Davidson, De Kock (Valke)
Agstemanne:     AJ Venter, Pinnock (Olifante) J Van Niekerk
Slotte:                Matfield, Andrews, Ackerman, Van Greunen, Tromp, Hottie Louw
Flanke:             Erasmus, Venter, Vos, Nicky van der Walt
Stutte:                Meyer, Le Roux, Van der Linde
Hakers:                Smit, Van Biljon
Die WP manne sal my wil stenig, julle man is 'n goeie speler, maar op provinsiale vlak. Hy kan nie die "game" lees nie, dink nie op sy voete nie, dwing nie gesag af nie en is 'n opportunis. Hy wil ook nie luister as 'n skeidsregter met hom praat nie.
Met die genade van Bo, die westewind tussen die blaaie en 'n skop onder die sitvlak is al wat Springbok Rugby nou gaan red. Volgens my is daar ook net een "game plan", en dit is om te wen. Die ander goed is snert. Moenie ook vir my sê ons moet die span en keurders ondersteun nie. Hulle is besig om span te bou nie. Hoeveel keer moet ek nie nog in die borge se produk tjank nie. As ek droogmaak verloor ek besigheid en kliente. Indien die bestuur van 'n maatskappy droogmaak, word hulle op 'n direksie vergadering uitgestem en met kundige mense vervang.
Groete uit my losie.
Chris Erasmus






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