Editors Note


Volume 2, Week 2                                                 

Editors Note

Brilliant!   Trophies! South African sport finally came to the party in a weekend of wonderful results. The SA cricket team at long last won something on Australian soil and across the Tasmin Basin, Chester Williams’ national sevens team triumphed for the f irst time in the World Sevens Series. More of the same please barman and make it a double!

The lull before the first matches of the new rugby season is historically a time when rumours and speculation are force-fed to the news starved public. This year is no exception as can be seen in the many conflicting reports regarding applicants for Springbok coach and the expansion of the Super 12 into the Super 14. The way things are going at the moment the little boy who cried wolf would pass a polygraph test with flying colours and be regarded as a creditable witness!

The new Springbok coach, we know for a fact will be a South African (one of Allister Coetzee, Rudy Joubert, Rudolf Straeuli or Jake White), SARFU or the new (Pty) Ltd jobbie also assured all that he will be the “right man” for the job. Heard this before? The problem though is that nobody can foresee the future and the “right man” may not be that until its too late and the damage is done – tests and the World Cup are lost. What is the solution? The simple solution is good procedures in the choice and selection of the correct personnel, most large companies do that and have been doing it for hundreds of years. The other is to headhunt the best candidate for the job and offer him more money, incentives etc. None of this is revolutionary thinking and fortunately it "seems" (pardon Gert?) to be the current modus operandi – why only now?

The Super 12 or 14 fiasco with accusations to and thro between the two Oceanic countries are becoming slightly boring, agreed the game must grow but in all honesty with even more rugby, will there be any time to rest? Is that really what our top players need? There is the age old debate of one global season and it is a very valid one but let’s not kid ourselves, News Corp are the peddlers here and what they say will go – since rugby is mostly controlled by mongering politicians maybe its good to know that there are some calculated businessmen out there to counteract the inept administration of the worldwide game. It is time for Rupert as the financier to lay down the law and transform the international game and boundaries – the bedfellows of SANZAR are clearly to ham-fisted to do it themselves.

Returning to the victory of the sevens team, this version of rugby has traditionally provided New Zealand with some of their best and most exciting stars like Jonah Lomu and Christian Cullen. South Africa also benefited by sending the likes of Joost, Andre Venter, Bob Skinstad et al for a stint in this most demanding of games. The latest protégé from the school of sevens, last year’s star at the World Cup, Andre Pretorius will take the step up for the Cats in the Super 12. The two mediums require a slightly different method of application - the structure, tight phases and defensive labyrinth of the 15 man game are devoid in the sevens version where speed, hand skills and individual brilliance are essential. Witness the great one, Waisale Serevi’s inhibited displays in the senior version. The transformation however can be done, it takes a lot of hard work and effective coaching and with Chester Williams (himself a brilliant sevens exponent) overseeing current sevens players will soon be making a difference to the senior team’s benefit. 

This coming weekend sees round 2 of the Six Nation’s, after resounding victories for England and Ireland, all focus will be on this mouth watering clash at Twickenham. The Irish must be as confident as ever of beating Martin Johnson’s men however to beat an in-form English team at the impregnable fortress of Twickenham, Humphries must outplay Wilkinson and the Irish forwards must provide enough possession for the dangerous backline and chief destroyer O’Driscoll to perform. A close game in my opinion but England’s home ground advantage may prove the deciding factor. France should be the better of Wales even in Cardiff and Scotland needs to regain momentum in Italy although easier said than done in Rome.

RF will run a preview of the Super 12 in next week’s issue, as there will be clarity regarding squad and team selection for the opening rounds. The seventh edition of this competition is likely to be the most exciting – rules have not changed dramatically and most teams will be committed to breaking down the strong defensive patterns prevalent in modern rugby.




"Last Tango in Parys" by Tom Marcellus

Its not often that I can use the word "tantalising" when describing anything to do with rugger. Robust words like "brute", "guts", "spat" and "boll*cks" are far more likely to cross my lips, especially when I think of Keith Wood and his Crazy Gang. But I must confess that I detected a vague stirring in my loins recently as I read about the rather novel past-time that is women's rugby. As my own experiences regarding females of the opposite sex and oval balls are strictly confined t o the couch and invariably amount to an ecstasy of fumbling on my part (my cricket coach always said that I had bad hands), I was most intrigued to read about this form of rugby that, it would appear, is enjoying a rising following among the fairer sex in SA.

Not that (I assume) too many of the young lasses who are wont to gad about the paddock on a Saturday morning easily fall into the category of "damsels in distress", though, and I'm sure that I speak for the majority of sexist male rugby fans when I say that the stereotypical view of these stilettoed rugger-b*ggers is that they are all surely coarse, hairy and brutish. I suspect that the average fella thinks that each player (especially the tight forwards) is a gnarled lesbian, out for a quick grope in the murky depths of the rucks and mauls. After all, that's what his intentions would be if he found himself unwittingly trapped beneath 16 sweaty gals.

Bearing this blinkered view in mind, I was delighted to read a recent article about one of the leading lady rugby players in South Africa, Maryke Nel, who is the rather fetching flyhalf for the Blue Bulls ladies XV. With her long blonde locks and tanned, shapely legs, she is definitely a bit of awright (know wot I mean, geezer?). Moving along swiftly from her rather, ahem, tantalising physical attributes for a minute, one of the most remarkable features about Ms Nel is that she is the grand-daughte r of the mighty Phil Nel, the veteran Greytown farmer, whose 1937 Springboks are still remembered by sentimental old fools like this correspondent as "the greatest team to leave New Zealand's shores".

Doc Craven, for one, was a keen exponent of the theory that genetics play a large role in the making of great sportsmen. For evidence of this assertion, one need look no further than Morné du Plessis' remarkable pedigree, or the almost mythical Morkel family from Somerset West, who contributed a remarkable 10 players to the Springbok cause between 1903 and 1928. But I don't think that Ms Nel and her ilk were quite what the good doctor had in mind.

Judging by the reports of the matches between the ladies' sides, these are not young lasses to tangle with. And a tango is probably out of the question. I am told that their play is skilful, committed and vigorous, and sniggering okes on the touchlines need only take one look at the hulking, huffing forwards to realise that these lasses are not here for a haircut.

It has now been 65 barren years since Phil Nel led his Boks to glory at Eden Park, scoring 5 tries to nil, to win an historic rubber. Sadly, it does not look as if the current crop of Boks will be emulating the feats of the "Greatest Springboks" anytime soon. 

Perhaps we will be able to call upon their female counterparts to win glory in distant lands. And with a Nel calling the shots again, anything can happen, methinks.


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The Temple of Doom by Desmond Organ

Another week of posturing at the South African Rugby Football Union and we are a little closer to the outcome. The new South African coaching candidates are taking form and we have already had a scandal; before the so-called professional recruiting campaign is in its first phase.

Rian Oberholzer was in a real dilemma, keep the administrators happy, save face or hurry off to meet Gert Smal and convince him that he is still in the running for the job. One wonders if the applications that are submitted will end up in the interviewing phase.

Already rumours are rife that Straueli is the chosen one, not so according to the officials; the process has only just started to stagger like a steam train building up steam. I just hope that there are enough mechanics to help the train up the steep inclines that are on the journey.

Whoever is finally selected for the post knows that there is a real job ahead of them. Some journalists have called it the “Job from Hell”. There are several major issues that the new leader will face as he embarks on a rescue mission to free the land from what is clearly a temple of doom. There are enough wizards to help along the way, but those that have alternative ideas are just as numerous and every move will be watched by our erstwhile Big Brother; the Minister of Sport. He and his clones will be watching this one.

The most complex task facing the new coach will be the welding together of a coaching staff that has been anything but unified in direction. Media pressure, transformation quotas and the regional in fighting that typifies South African rugby will all be there. Not everybody is going to be happy with the final choice, my only hope is that the shambles that typified the resignation of Viljoen is replaced with a clearer plan that is professionally managed and executed.

Strength of character and a proven track record under stress are the hallmarks of a successful coach, the glamour boys are not fit for the type of role that awaits the new South African coach. Flamboyant as he is, a Clive Woodward type would not fit the job specification; yes we need a risk taker and a leader that is prepared to challenge the antiquated operations at SARFU, but we also need somebody who has a less vocal approach to the job. Engaging in debates with the administrators often gets you a t elephone call referencing your abode and choice of food from yester years.

The South African coach will need to be a quiet type with a strong sense of purpose, one thing that needs to happen is the separation of coach and players. A well drilled and disciplined team can never be too close to the coach, we have seen the errors of both Hugh Reece Edwards at the Sharks and Harry Viljoen with the Springboks. The Captain too, must separate himself to a degree and be able to represent all the regions that make up the national team, unfortunately the leader of the team at the time o f a major shake up is often on his way, before the new coach has even had his name plaque affixed to the office that he occupies in the headquarters.

The team that represents South Africa in its first test match of 2002 will hopefully be a blend of competent players, astute coaches and professional support staff. This will not be an easy task and perhaps the best thing is for the new coach to be able to play the team that he wants and to establish some basic discipline in the players, there is a lot of truth to the statement that the real professionals are the ones that play the game to be the best they can possible be.

The new coach must free himself of the snakes and wizards that live off the game as a means to their own ends, this is almost an impossibility at the administrative levels of South African rugby, but it can be achieved in the squad and in the management team that accompanies it, oh yes a final word, lets keep the numbers of hangers on to the point that they can fit on half a page in a match programme.


Six Nations Round Two by Irvine Brown
With its dark, brooding grandstands and veneer of imperialism, Twickenham has always been a daunting destination for rugby’s Celtic fringe. It must be something in the south-west London air that so brusquely intimidates the Irish, Scots and Welsh.

Testing time again this weekend as Ireland, all speed and bravado, travel to England’s HQ for the first major showdown of the third Six Nations Championship. Appetites have been whetted by the performances of the combatants in their respective disposal of Wales and Scotland a fortnight ago. Talk is of a classic in the making.

On simple evaluation, the equation to be solved is perfectly clear; the x-factor of the whirlwind Irish backs against the power and resolve of England massive pack. But looking at the matter in a bit more detail, the key to success lies in the potential performance of Ireland’s forwards. Minus Keith Wood once again due to injury, the Irish eight will have to produce the game of their lives if their country is to come away from London with a victory for the first time since 1993.

So dominant was the huge English pack against Scotland in their opening 29-3 victory at Murrayfield that the portents appear ominous for Eddie O’Sullivan’s men. The ability to consistently disrupt the Scottish line-out, arguably the best organised in the championship, allied to trenchant, obdurate first-time tackling, created the pattern which England will look to continue on Saturday. Bear in mind the English pack weighs in at an average of 18-and-a-half stones, or 260 lbs. per man and you begin to see the size of the task facing Ireland’s forwards.

On the positive side, Ireland welcome back lock Malcolm O’Kelly and loose forward Eric Miller. Both will bolster the line-out, especially on the English throw, and Miller was in boisterous form before being forced to miss the Welsh game through illness.

Much was made, quite rightly, of the sparkling brand of three-quarter play which Ireland displayed in Dublin two weeks ago. To be able to put on such a show, however, the backs needed the right attacking platform. Watch the game film again and study the way in which the Irish forwards continually punch gaping holes in the first-line Welsh defence, allowing the men in green to pour forward in ever-increasing numbers.

Scotland achieved limited success in a similar kind of venture, but such was the power and solidity of England’s tackling there was never any real prospect of a genuine influence in the outcome of the game. Look for Ireland to avoid taking England on in a battle of sheer physical strength, rather they may try to make inroads at the fringe of ruck and maul, and deploy their driving loose trio around the half-back hub of Peter Stringer and David Humphreys.

Alarm bells will have been sounded well in advance by coach Clive Woodward about allowing Brian O’Driscoll and Kevin Maggs to utilise their pace and vision to disrupt the English midfield defence. Opposite numbers Will Greenwood and Mike Tindall are stoic enough performers not to make the mistake of over-committing to the tackle and exposing the defensive underbelly to O’Driscoll’s raking runs. The Irishman is, currently, the most explosive three-quarter in world rugby.

Curiously, O’Driscoll’s only possible peer is lined up on the other side of Saturday’s contest. We are talking, of course, about Jason Robinson. England’s full-back scored twice in the opening 12 minutes at Murrayfield and energised England to a position of crucial dominance. Since his conversion to the union code last year, Robinson has consistently delivered in terms of quality of overall performance and deadly finishing. It is virtually impossible for an opponent to show Robinson the outside and n ot pay the ultimate five-point price a few seconds later.

England want to get the ball wide early and often to maximise Robinson’s attacking abilities. Curiously, they may opt to go at Ireland through quick ball whipped to the wings rather than by using the obvious weight advantage up front. Phil Vickery’s return to the front row bolsters their position in the tight, although Woodward must have taken note of the way in which Peter Clohessy and John Hayes dominated proceedings in Dublin. Another fascinating area of confrontation beckons.

The duel between the half-backs will also come under close scrutiny. Jonny Wilkinson had his usual marvelous match against the Scots, both in terms of conducting and constructing midfield play and kicking, and Kyran Bracken’s lightning-fast service allows the England fly-half time to deliver an array of options. Wilkinson’s brutal strength in the tackle is another dagger pointed at Irish hearts.

Over in the green camp, Stringer and Humphreys must have gained terrific confidence from their individual and collective performance against Wales. Humphreys displayed an awareness and lightness of touch that had previously been obscured by his predilection for the obvious, but he will be put under much more pressure by England than the cardboard cut-outs of Wales.

Ultimately, Ireland may again be judged on their match fitness, or lack of it. Memory cannot help but revisit the autumn international against the All Blacks, when a potentially game-winning position was squandered through physical and mental deterioration in the final quarter. England are just as fit, as big and as durable as New Zealand; it would be a shame to see the outcome decided by stereotypical frailty.

Over the border in the Principality, there remains a mixture of anger and shame at the Dublin debacle. Graham Henry has gone, but Wales’ troubles do not look likely to disappear as rapidly as their ex-mentor. And to cap it all, the French will bring their show to the Millennium Stadium in the hope of inflicting further woe upon a depressed nation.

Surely Wales cannot replicate the performance of a fortnight ago. Rarely has any competitor in a championship match surrendered so abjectly as the Dragon lay down in Dublin. Playing at home will certainly help, but the psychological scars may be too great to overcome. 

It is difficult to envisage Wales being able to dominate the French in any aspect of the game. Despite a predictably mixed salvo against Italy in their opening encounter, France have plenty of weapons and the ability with which to deploy them. Options were, in fact, a bit of a problem in that match, i.e., too many bad ones. But unless there is a complete communication breakdown, France have all the qualities the Welsh cannot compete with; mobility, pace and size.

Nothing in either side’s initial outings indicates anything other than a comfortable victory for the visitors. France were guilty of squandering a boatload of opportunities, Wales culpable of creating virtually none. It will require a 180 degree flip for there to be any singing in the Valleys come Saturday night except a further rugby requiem.

Scottish nerves will be a trifle jangly about the prospect of travelling to the Eternal City, where they enjoy the dubious privilege of being the only competitor to lose a Six Nations game. Thoughts of a repeat humiliation must be causing a few nightsweats in the Scots camp.

Italy must fancy their chances against a Scottish side which was sterile and makeweight against England. Last season almost brought the Italians a shock success, the Scots eventually struggling through a 21-19 escape hatch. It hasn’t got much better for Ian McGeechan’s men since then.

Injury has rendered captain Budge Pountney unavailable, so scrum-half Bryan Redpath will lead the Scots. Pountney’s boundless drive and energy will be missed, although Martin Leslie deserves to start an international again.

Goal-kicking, or the lack of it, has bedeviled Scotland in recent times and there can be no massive sigh of relief at the return to the fold of Kenny “Footloose” Logan. On a good day immaculate, on a bad one infuriating, Logan’s accuracy with the boot may provide the key to the outcome of the contest. 

Time for this correspondent to put his neck on the line once more. It wasn’t exactly difficult to get three out of three on the opening weekend, but this series of games provides a lot more challenge. Anyway, here’s the poisoned chalice…

England 26 Ireland 14

Italy 22 Scotland 21

Wales 13 France 30

Enjoy the game…and don’t forget to smile!!!

The Springbok Coach by Mark Foster

The past decade and be reminded South Africa’s return to international rugby from deep isolation celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, has been a period of intense turmoil and a roller coaster ride unparalleled by any theme park. From the deepest despair to the ultimate triumph - this decade has seen it all.

Intricately involved and ultimately responsible for the results that brought tears to grown men’s eyes and empted tearing out of hair were the beleaguered Springbok coaches. The new coach will be one of Allister Coetzee, Rudy Joubert, Rudolf Straeuli or Jake White – the most likely appointee and hot favorite is Straeuli, the current Sharks coach. Whoever inherits the mantle, here is the history of the last decade:







Win %

John Williams







Gerrie Sonnekus







Ian McIntosh

1993 – 1994






Kitch Christie

1994 – 1995






Andre Markgraaff







Carel Du Plessis







Nick Mallett

1997 – 2000






Harry Viljoen

2000 – 2001







On the whole it makes for some sorry reading – the phenomenal Kitch Christie was the most successful coach by a country mile but Mallett’s performance over a 3-year period is more than admirable. What makes for a successful modern day international coach? Is it a high winning percentage? Is it elevation on the “Zurich World Rankings”? The World Cup in the trophy cabinet? In our own specific circumstances, commitment to and implementation of transformation? All of the above?

SA Rugby must for once stick their neck out and define, clearly, the coach’s objective, this will allow him to work towards that goal and be judged solely on obtaining the set results. The public, an important and often neglected paying customer of the product has the right to know what the agenda is and armed with this knowledge either buy in or not. Easier said than done of course but an open and honest policy will go a long way to ensure less pressure on both new coach and players - that may prove impossible though!

The Springbok coach must be a gentleman with character, charisma, discipline, a fair bit of mongrel and a skin as thick as an Ausie. These attributes are essential but the most important factor is the willingness and determination to succeed, success breeds success. South Africa demands it.



Mind you, I would not want the pressure of being number one in the world just two years before a World Cup. There is only one way to go and it is not up.   David Campese on England's ranking

I would like to thank the press from the heart of my bottom!     Nick Faldo

Rugby people. Can't live with them. Can't shoot them. Mainly can't live with them. Can't afford to live with them. Haven't the bloodlines to live with them. Haven't the patience to live with them. Haven't the language skills to live with them. Haven't the desire even. Rugby people have always been college scarves and jutting jaws and silly songs I don't know the words of. C-A-N-N-O-T live with them.      Tom Humphries

Things don't happen if you leave them alone...     Sam McLean

Letters to the Editor (letters@rugbyforum.co.za)
Dear Ed.

As a fan of this great sport.

I believe we should have a say in who, how and what happens in SA rugby. I'm not paying R2 to watch a SA side loose because it contains players in for colour rather than merit. Fans rule the game if u have no fans you have no revenue so therefore you can't pay players and administrators or develop the game.

My main question to all administrators who believe that without transformation the game will not be a true reflection on the country. Can't black or coloured players look up to a white player. I agree that players of colour in sport will make there brake through and in 25-50 years from now our side will 2-3 whites in it. But this can only be achieved over a couple of generations not in a decade. And what is wrong with letting something happen naturally why force an issue. Growing up I learned that Ru gby is something us South African's are great at, what are the youth of today going to see. A rugby side which is equal to Scotland or a Quarterfinalist at the RWC.

Remove power hungry politicians from the game they are f*cking it up.

Jason Marriott

Dear Lucas

A very interesting forum, I would like to add something to your discussion on transformation and supporters. When I was a youngster, my father, two brothers and I used to go watch soccer in Durban, just about every Saturday and Sunday, I am talking about the 70's. Anyway to try cut a long story, Jomo Sono appeared on the scene and we carried on watching as the level of soccer was still good, but slowly and surely we stopped watching as the standard depreciated, a proven point been Butch James who wo uld be a great footballer, but money and fame forced him to play rugby. The standard of soccer became so bad that the only soccer I watch is UK and European. What I am getting at is that rugby and cricket is going the same way, I and many of the other supporters will be forced to boycott watching the local scene, put our televisions on, for those that have DSTV, start supporting NZ, AUS and UK rugby, on the local scene only watch and support individual sports such as tennis, golf and surfing.

The above has been predicted by myself on the supersport web last year. I have no problem watching the Kaysers, Paulsers and Ntini's as everyone of them could easily make it in many world cup squad, but to watch the Fembos, Roger Smith's and even the Butch James of rugby is unacceptable, while guys like Stefan Terblanche and Braam van Straaten sit on and off the bench.

Lastly Strauli and Smal are great coaches, but I would like to see a coach who before selecting a Captain or team, first looks to select a recognised goalkicker like (Braam and the like of someone with his ability), the reason for this, I love running rugby but until such time as penalties do not count for kicking points, you can forget the running game. 

Kind regards


Geagte Red

Wel met die nuwe seisoen en die bedanking van Harry...

Hoekom nie net een afrigter hou en ‘n span bou afrigter met span .. Rome is nie in een dag gebou nie. Bou saam en hou by mekaar, ons sal die vrugte pluk.. Wel ek kry nuus hier via julle en kom nou na S.A. Waar was die tyd toe ons nog so op mekaar gewen het? Ons kan dit mos weer doen nie waar nie!!!

Kobus van Cyprus

Beste Ed.

Wat n dilemma!! Kom ons gan bietjie terug in die verlede om fout nommer een te kry...ja die afdanking van Carel du Plessies. Dit daar gelaat. Die regte man moet nou gevind word. Ek glo in Carel en Gert, want nie net is hulle groot vriende nie, hulle is lewende legendes, wat baie rugby saam gespeel het (en hoe), en dieselfde denkwyse het. Dis baie belangrik dat die hoof en hulp afrigter aanvullende denkwyse moet he.

Tog dink ek, dat n ou hand soos MAC die man in die saal behoort te wees. Gee hom n kans (weer), en hopelik sien ons amok in die hok. Wie sy adjunk(te) moet wees...mmm moeilik om te se - wat van Danie Gerber, en Naas om bietjie hand by te sit met die skopseer. Teen die tyd dat die kombinasie weer trots en eer in Springbok rugby herstel het, en dink aan pensioen, behoort Gert en Carel bietjie wyser te wees en nommerpas om sukes verder te neem.

Ons kan wragtig nie weer met verkeerde besluite op en van die veld saamleef nie.

Nog n laaste ding. Politiek het ...(amper vloek ek) niks met sport uit te waai nie. Ek verstaan transformasie, maar die base maak n fout. Gee die ouens die tariewe, geleenthede en als wat hulle nodig het, maar kies net asb. die beste span. Hoe kan talent onder die sandemmer gegooi word vir transformasie...???!!! PS. - Paulse is briljant, en Conrad Jantjes se talent kies homself. Ons as publiek weet nie meer waar ons staan nie. Ons
lees miskien nie aldag die feite in die pers nie, so ek pleit vir al die spelers se onthalwe, dat die politieke, en transformasie kwessie vir eens en vir altyd uit die weg geruim moet word, sodat spelers hul selfvertroue kan terugkry. Ek dink dit het dalk n belowende speler soos Jantjes se vertroue net leed aangedoen.

Nag ou grote!


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