Editors Note


Volume 2, Week 35

Editors Note

Brilliant!       The final weekend of the Top 8 is nigh and as they say in local vernacular ‘it’s not over ‘till Klusener swings’ but then those were the good old days! The Currie Cup is tilted slightly north of the Fish River and the semi-finalists for 2002 will ride on one match, Lions v WP coincidentally the two provinces with the largest incumbent Springbok representatives. Don’t know about you but I can’t wait!!

A few happenings in the world of rugby are worth noting this week; firstly the retirement of Cheetah stalwart and 3rd most capped Springbok in history, Andre Venter. An influential player during his 6 years involvement with the Springboks he was known as the heart and sole of the pack, the hard man that represented the best of Springbok rugby. Venter will be remembered as a great and this quote by James Lowell typifies the man, ‘A great man is made up of qualities that meet or make great occasions’. 

The controversial North v South match was ‘postponed’ by the IRB, the match was said to be in aid of developing unions in world rugby and of course quite a few pennies along the way. The idea is not a new one; in 1986 a wonderful match was played at Twickenham between the best of both hemispheres. South Africa had a six-player representation and the ‘Prince of Wings’ Carel Du Plessis scored one of the best tries ever seen at the historic ground. Danie Gerber was at his majestic best and with Naas B otha orchestrating a star-studded team the match remain a vivid memory. It is a shame that these kinds of matches cannot take place due to admittedly many valid reasons but this is the kind of opportunity, similar to the Barbarians clashes where players are allowed to show off and entertain.

Following hot on the heels of the ‘postponement’ of the North v South match is a proposal on the table of an England/South Africa/Australia Tri-Nations series in England during the end of year tour. Where the N v S match would have meant money for the developing nations, this series will mean money for the participants, somebody smelling a rat? In order for the ‘upper tier’ countries to maintain their huge player wage bills it is essential to organise money-spinning events because television revenu e promises to be far less post 2005 NewsCorp negotiations. Rugby after all is a business.

The coming weekend of Currie Cup clashes are salivating to say the least, there are important matches for a few teams but none more so than the Lions/WP game at Ellis Park. Both teams had a yo-yo year, WP seems to spiral downward and the Lions up but this fixture will determine the semi-final make-up. The permutations are simple, WP must win (scoring 4 tries) without allowing the Lions a bonus point, and the Lions need only 1 point! Accomplishing this will be another story, the WP forwards have the ir biggest ask of the year, Krige is back but they need front row dominance over a settled combo in Meyer and Sephaka. Both backlines brim with talent, young and old but it will come down to the performance of the flyhalves who will win this encounter. Gert Smal is keeping his options open with Greeff and Rossouw, which can add unnecessary pressure on the eventual starter. Greeff, everybody knows don’t know what pressure is, Rossouw – that is another story. Andre Pretorius will want to improve on last week ’s showing so the supporters and rugby fans should be in for a real treat!

Enjoy the coming weekend and remember to support your team live at the park!



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Breakfast-time spluttering by Tom Marcellus
I must confess that I almost choked on my morning wheatbix yesterday, when I read, to my unbridled dismay, that the great André Venter is to hang up his boots at the end of the present Currie Cup season. Although I can respect the fact that the old war-horse has had to endure considerable personal sacrifices in the cause of het Springbokken since his debut against the All Blacks in 1996, I couldn’t restrain a selfish hope that the gnarled Free Stater, a player of supreme fitness, would enjoy one last hurrah and hang on until at least next year's World Cup. Somehow, with André Venter's rugged but impressively un-photogenic features bearing down from the TV screen at anthem time, the world seemed a safer place.

Unlike more controversial players who never hesitated to flirt with the limelight via silly gestures like tongue rings, pink boots and peroxided hair, Venter's no-nonsense approach to the game, not to mention his great skills, carthorse physique and gritty longevity, have earned him the respect of rugby fans around the world. If you will excuse the use of an old cliché, not to mention the past tense, he truly was a players' player.

In the eyes of this armchair correspondent, for one, Venter inspired feelings much like those stirred up by his fellow grafter, one C Krige: manly, tough, uncompromising, but scrupulously fair. Here was a player who, blessed with an abundance of natural gifts, adopted a refreshingly simple approach to rugby: scavenge for oval ball, bl*ksem disagreeable opponent, score try. I must confess that, being a dribbling sentimentalist who harbours a number of quaintly naïve notions about sport in general and rugby in particular, I would love to be able to believe that the way in which this grizzled old warrior careered about the paddock is much how I wish I could have played, had I been blessed with an ounce of his enormous talents. Of course, the fact that I could barely manage a season as a swashbuckling flyhalf for the und er 15F's, let alone make a crash-tackle in anger, is more to the point.

Without wanting to labour the point, a lasting memory of Bok matches over the last 6 seasons has been the stirring sight of Venter's gnarled features, with his eyes dutifully closed, during the pre-kick-off sing-song. In fact, Venter's self-engrossed passion merely confirmed to me that this was a truly heroic player, willing to offer his all in the name of The Cause. Taking it a bit further, even a blubbering city-boy like yours truly could recognise, nay envy, the quite apparent, gritty qualitie s of pride, bravery, unquenchable effort and dogged determination displayed by players of the ilk of Venter & Co: Krige, Andrews and (last but no means least) Teichmann.

Rassie, Bob and Big Joe, on the other hand, are all obvious examples of forwards who are blessed with an equally dazzling array of skills and talents, but whose blend of skills are such that they touch your average rugby fan in a different way. But Venter, whose zest for the game was matched (past tense again, sorry) only by his reticence off the pitch, epitomises, even more so than any of the other 3 luminaries mentioned, the brooding but re-assuring menace of the Strong, Silent Type.

With the Currie Cup Final a mere 16 days away, it goes without saying that a victory for the Cheetahs on that day would be a fitting finale to Venter's glorious career. Being a presumptuous fellow whose heart still hovers somewhere over the rolling hills of Natal, I have more selfish hopes for the outcome on that day. But, be that as it may, I join many other rugger fans around the world to salute a truly great Bok.

As I said to my girlfriend last night, "Nag, ou Grote".

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Throwing the Dice by Desmond Organ
The first national training session has come and gone and one of the greatest flankers in South Africa has chosen to hang up his boots. What are we as mere observers and commentators to make of all of this, nothing really, just another week in the year?

Truth is that there is perhaps something strange about Andre Venter’s decision. There can be no denying the fact that he had aspirations to perform at the national level yet again. Both he and Rassie Erasmus have been in outstanding form for the Cheetahs. Even the most biased of reporters have indicated that both would be contenders for the end of year tour. 

Then there is the make up of the current national squad and the perimeter players that have been invited to attend one of the training sessions. I have never doubted for one moment that Rudolf Straeuli is managing the competition and provincialism that exists in the South African game. He is competently pitting the current crop of media favourites against men of the hard-nosed variety, whilst cunningly managing the same said media through the work of one very “shrewd” media observer.

The coach has also made it his business to talk directly to the players about his plans and aspirations for the future. If this is always the case then the Venter decision can be taken on its merits for what was reported in the press, or has there been a frank discussion between the two in which guarantees could not be made and plans did not gel. All speculation yes, but in South African rugby it is often the behind the scenes events that tell the real story.

That brings me to the current lay out of the Currie Cup, how ironic that the teams that have the best record, bar one, are those that came from the same qualifying section. The Sharks, Lions, Bulls and the Pumas. Only the Cheetahs from the other group have really performed above expectations. The Western Province players have one final weekend to show that they can compete with the best this season. A full range of injuries and some questionable positional choices could finally take their toll on the men from the Cape.

The Cheetahs, Sharks and Bulls appear to have the most stable record throughout the competition so far this year. The Cheetahs have perhaps been the most consistent, especially if you consider the fact that they have delivered yet another fine crop of players and the same consistent performances that we have come to expect from them year in and year out. A small word of advice for Tim lane, the Cats need Cheetahs players, only in the hands of Laurie Mains has the Super 12 outfit performed. The Lion s have also been shady this season, playing in fits and starts and often winning in an unconvincing manner.

The Sharks have also played in fits and starts, the difference is that they have put away lesser teams in a convincing manner, whether attractive or not their victories over the minor Unions have been by a large margin, something that cannot be said of the other major Unions. The Bulls have failed to impress outside of the forwards, their victories have often been by a small margin of points and unless Rudi Joubert works the Heyneke Meyer playing pattern out of the three-quarters. 

This weekends games will determine the final lay out for the remainder of the Currie Cup season. One word of warning, the Currie Cup is not international rugby and I think there is a lot of work to be done by Mr. Straeuli before he takes on the French.

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Commenting on the state of commentary by Vinesh Naicker
From my observations, in the modern era, Australia, NZ and South Africa all seem to use a similar combination of commentators. Primarily, one professional journo and one ex-player or coach. The role of the professional journo is to provide basic information about the game, player information and statistics and an unbiased view point of the game. The ex-player/coach is there to provide insight into the plays, the teams and add some colour with a bit of bias.

It was my understanding that Sky NZ used the team of Tony Johnson and Steve Drake for the serious games and commentaries and that Grant Nisbett and Murray Mexted were teamed up to provide comic relief.
Australia use Gordon Bray with a variety of ex-players and South Africa use a commentator who seems to be English along with a variety of people of whom Ian MacIntosh is quite memorable.

I recently read an article in our national newspaper in which their resident cricket ‘hack’ praised the skills of rugby commentator Grant Nisbett, this gave me incentive to discuss the issue of commentators.

I first started watching rugby on TV in the mid-1980’s. In those days rugby coverage belonged to TV1, the state owned TV channel which was free-to-air. The main commentator from that time was Keith Quinn. Keith already had quite a history as a commentator when I first started listening, and he delighted in pulling out obscure thoughts about the game. He also delighted in trying to use imagery to describe plays and people. One lingering memory is him describing Vai’inga Tuigamala, who was probably the first of the giant wingers that NZ used, as “the big black bus” (not in any derogatory way, I must say) and I think he is also the one who nick-named him “Inga the winger”.

From what I can tell Keith Quinn based his commentary style on that of Bill McLaren, the legendary Scottish commentator who retired earlier this year. Bill McLaren is far and away the best commentator I have ever listened to, he brought the whole Five Nations alive for me, which was quite a feat as most of the British teams were playing dreadful 10 man rugby at the time.

Keith Quinn was at his best a pale imitation of Bill McLaren, the only area he was truly original in was his continuing attempts to correctly pronounce the names of the Samoan players, when Samoa became a force to be reckoned with in the early 90’s. No matter how complicated, Keith would have a shot at pronouncing it. Whether he got it right is open to debate, but he must be commended for his attempts. My most enduring memory is of Keith going on tour with the All Blacks to Canada. The All Blac k dirt trackers were playing a British Columbia side (I think) and they scored a neat little try from a double scissors movement about 15 metres out. Keith was commentating the game along with a local Canadian commentator. At this time Keith was adopting the ‘elder statesman of rugby’ role and had been going on for some time about the history of the game and the history and greatness of the All Blacks. Even I, as a Kiwi, was getting embarrassed. After the try was scored Keith cried out something along the lines of “Great try, he really sold a great dummy.” He then went on to tell his co-commentator “That’s what we in NZ call selling the dummy.” His co-commentators reply was “We call that a double scissors movement here, and we’ve been using it for about 70 years.” The next five minutes of silence were magical.

In the mid-90’s Keith acquired a side-kick, one Grant Nisbett. Now Grant served as a good foil to Keith. Grant was genuinely and obviously untalented in all areas of rugby commentary and with him around Keith really appeared to shine.

Then came the advent of pay TV, and when Sky TV acquired all the rights to the All Blacks coverage, there was a great deal of wailing and gnashing of teeth throughout the country. There were even suggestions that it was the god-given right of every New Zealander to watch the All Blacks live. In the end I reluctantly forked out for my Sky subscription, consoling myself with the thought that I would no longer be required to listen to the commentary of Keith Quinn, as Sky was going to have their own team. Little did I realise the scale of betrayal until several months later when who should pop up as Sky’s number one commentator but Grant Nisbett. If Keith Quinn was Qui-Gon-Jin then Grant was Jar-Jar-Binks (Star Wars reference). To me Grants crowning achievement of the time was when he commentated a game that Auckland was involved in. Auckland at the time had two Fijian players Iliesa Tanivula and Joeli Vidiri. Aside from the fact that they were both Fijians they were completely different. Taniv ula was much shorter, had a much more pear-shaped body and carried a great bush of hair compared to Vidiris closely cropped look. The numbers 11 and 13 on their backs were a dead give-away too. Despite this Grant spent the entire game mixing the two up. 

The debate raged hotly among my friends and I, was Grant

a) intellectually challenged
b) visually impaired
c) racist
d) all of the above

My friends and I could not satisfactorily resolve this and so wrote to Sky asking them to settle it for us. Eight years later we are still awaiting a reply.

In my despair I contemplated giving up my Sky subscription but was saved by the existence of Radio Sports commentary. Now with the stereo set to Radio Sports and the TV muted we can once again enjoy our rugby.

Recently, however, there were problems with the Radio broadcast and we once again listened to the Sky TV commentary while watching Wellington play. Brad Flemming and Lome Fa’atau were on the wings and they had swapped jerseys. Grant spent the whole of the first half getting these two mixed up. OK both of these two guys have a similar build, but they do have a couple of distinguishing characteristics. Flemming has long hair and wears them in dreadlocks and Fa’atau has short hair, in addition Fa’ atau has traditional Samoan tattoos covering his body down to the knees. Eight years later and still the same old Grant.

Now I don’t expect the professional journo to be infallible but they are professionals. I would have expected that an ability to add value to the viewing experience would be a pre-requisite. To do this a commentator should

a) Know which teams are playing and the significance of the occasion.
b) Know who his audience is and take that into account when commenting.
c) Know the rules of the game.
d) Know who all the players are, including the reserves, and be able to recognise them on the filed within five minutes of the game starting.
e) Be able to describe the plays and who was involved.
f) Make a reasonably accurate guess as to what a penalty was given for.
g) Provide useful information about players, teams and events.

Come on, this isn’t rocket science and I’m sure if most of us had forty hours a week to prepare, we could do a reasonable job. Why then was someone like Bill McLaren a quantum leap ahead of everyone else around? The guy commentated for about forty years, always providing a quality product, why did no one learn from him? TV stations need to recognise the standard of excellence he set and try and improve their offering. More informed and quality commentary should lead to a better product, and a b etter understanding and appreciation of the game by the audience. We talk about our players going soft in the professional era, I submit that the condition of the commentary is worse.

A Close Affair by Mark Foster
The Top 8 is turning into a thrilling finale to the Currie Cup and with only two teams certain of semi-final qualification the final weekend is vital. There were almost two upsets over the weekend when so-called ‘weaker’ unions narrowly lost against traditional powerhouses. The current format may have ‘diluted’ Springbok rugby but what a pity it is to lose teams who are now beginning to find their feet at this level. Perhaps after another season and much needed financial support they could have tur ned the corner. The weekend’s matches:

Western Province 37 v Pumas 36
WP supporters will testify to being more than a tad nervous in the dying moments of this vital encounter. The WP forwards produced a more accomplished display and their backs looked like a different bunch of players from the last few weeks. Go-forward is essential for lethal attackers like Fleck, Rossouw and Greeff from the back to break the gain line and score. The match also highlighted the attacking talents of Adri Badenhorst who scored two tries and Neil De Kock produced another superb showing with Bolla Conradie deputising impressively.

The Puma’s fought back strongly in the second half and Marius Goosen’s kicking boots kept them in the hunt. A late try and excellent final surge almost provided a historic win and many people thought Krige who played his first match since the Tri-Nations had conceded a kickable penalty in the final second. Alas it was not to be but the Pumas proved with their showing that they will be an asset to the senior competition next year.

Falcons 19 v Natal Sharks 44
The Falcons at home are a difficult team to beat and in the first half they proved more than a handful for their illustrious counterparts. The Sharks did not play fantastically but as coach Putt said, "If you had told me beforehand that we would have come away winning by that amount with 5 points, I would have been very happy." The result is a case of mission accomplished. 

A few of the Shark regulars took a rest and the return of Lukas van Biljon was a highlight, a bit short of match fitness he was not up to his bullocking runs as often as in the past but the good news is – he played for 80 minutes. The Sharks have impressive depth and in preparation for the semi-finals (a certainty) expect Putt to rest a few players with niggles.

Griquas 28 v Blue Bulls 29
The Blue Bulls snuck a last second victory over the Griquas in Kimberley and yes, you guessed it, boy wonder Derick Hougaard slotted an angled penalty for the 1 point victory. WP fans must have begged and prayed for the miss as this win was vital for both teams’ chances in the semi-finals.

Griquas, played well and with their forwards undeterred by the Blue Bulls strengths provided some good ball for their backline and their 4-try tally overshadowed their opponents three. The old maxim is true though and kicks win matches and to the disappointment of the large crowd, Hougaard made up for an indifferent day by converting the one that mattered.

Griquas will rue their missed chances and probably end up in the “B” division next year as they don’t have much chance against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.

Cheetahs 29 v Lions 22
The match of the weekend was one of the most entertaining games of the season and the Cheetahs played absolutely sublime rugby to beat their Cats comrades in Bloemfontein. Kenny Tsimba was back and with his forwards putting in a strong showing against the 2/3 Springbok front row the little maestro was again the difference in the match. 

Tsimba’s been playing excellent rugby all year and his presence has provided the Cheetahs with a more than realistic hope. He is a good decision maker and on the day probably outshone Springbok incumbent Andre Pretorius. A fantastic sight was the return of Os Du Randt to competitive first class rugby, the big man scrummed well, made a few telling tackles and even a familiar dash with the ball, bumping young superstar Joe van Niekerk off. The other excellent performer for the Cheetahs was scrumhalf Neil Powell who played a big game, he is strong, fast and his service to Tsimba gives the latter more than enough space and time to move in.

The Lions do have themselves to blame for not securing the points needed for a semi-final position. John Daniels missed a relatively easy opportunity to score when he fumbled a kick in the goal area and Lombaard scored for the Cheetahs when a defensive error cost the Lions seven points. The Lions must beat WP on Saturday or at least secure a bonus point to progress.

Weekend Fixtures

11/10/2002 Blue Bulls v Falcons Loftus 19:10
12/10/2002  Natal Sharks v Griquas The Absa Stadium 15:00
12/10/2002  Pumas v Cheetahs Puma Stadium 15:00
12/10/2002  Lions v Western Province Vodacom Park 17:05

Currie Cup Top 8 Log
Team Played Won Lost Draw Pts
Natal Sharks 6 4 1 1 23
Cheetahs 6 5 1 0 22
Lions 6 4 2 0 21
Blue Bulls 6 4 1 1 20
Western Province 6 3 3 0 16
Pumas 6 2 4 0 13
Griquas 6 1 5 0 7
Falcons 6 0 6 0 4

Western Province don't bother me or my players. The days of us so-called 'smaller' unions sh*tting ourselves for the 'bigger' guys are over.     Danie Gerber 

I think the main message is that world rugby needs New Zealand and New Zealand needs world rugby.     IRB CEO Mike Miller

It is said in sporting circles that great players leave the game a year too early rather than a year too late.   Rudolf Straeuli on Andre Venter's retirement

Welsh rugby may be about as healthy as a 40-a-day smoker with a gammy leg and a whisky habit, but Llanelli will be up for this.     Chris Hewett

South Africa showed what they can do at the end of the Tri-nations. They are not evolving but rather have evolved much more than the other two countries.       Ian McGeechan 

I met Jonah Lomu. I never knew how huge he was. I felt like a peasant in a Godzilla movie. 'Quickly! Tell the other villagers! We go now!'      Robin Williams

I realised, I could fall out of Jonah's nose, and he wouldn't even notice.       Robin Williams

Just for once, I hope northern hemisphere rugby chiefs will not allow themselves to be railroaded and have the bottle to tell the South to 'Sod off'.     Will Carling on the proposed Tri-Nations between Aus, Eng and SA

THE REAL BOB SKINSTAD: Get the October issue of SA Rugby magazine now for an inside look at SA's golden boy. To subscribe to SA Rugby phone 021-418-0141 or e-mail monarchc@mweb.co.za

Letters to the Editor
Dear Editor

Re: A different opinion

OK. So I know this opinion is not going to be popular. But it is an honest one, one I have given a lot of thought and I truly believe that it is in the interests of South African rugby for it to be publicly expressed.

I think the proposed Currie Cup system as from next year - with only 6 teams competing for SA's most prestigious rugby trophy - is a gigantic step BACKWARDS!

In my opinion we are only now starting to reap the rewards of the extended system... and now we are going to revert back to only six teams again! The emergence of exciting young players such as Adrian Jacobs and Brent Russell (not to mention the likes of Ettienne Botha, Marco Wentzel, Marius Joubert, Wayne Julies and Nico Blom) is the dividend of the larger "gene pool" of many teams with different playing styles all trying to get to SA rugby's Everest.

If I achieve nothing else, at least let me give you some food for thought:

* Would Adrian Jacobs have been playing Currie Cup rugby this year if next year's system had been in operation? I doubt it... Definitely not in the Western Province!

* Would Brent Russell have been playing Currie Cup rugby this year if next year's system had been in operation? Once again, I doubt it. And definitely, definitely not in W.P.!

* Would any of these two players have enriched the Springbok team this year with their exciting running? Nope.

* On the off chance that they would have been picked in one of the 6 "chosen" teams, would they have been allowed to express their natural talents, or would they have been "moulded" into a set pattern?

* Had it not been for the emergence this year of Russell, would 19-year olds like Jaque Fourie and Derick Hougaard have been selected for their provinces' senior teams?

* The emergence of Russell, Joe van Niekerk, Jannes Labuschagne, Lawrence Sephaka, Marius Joubert, Werner Greeff, Neil de Kock and Bolla Conradie can be thanked for the spirit of optimism that is currently sweeping through South African rugby.

* For that matter, the emergence of these youngsters and their exciting brand of rugby is the reason why the crowds are returning to the parks in their thousands!

* How many of you realize that had it not been for two desperately unlucky last-minute decisions, one against the Lions and the other against W.P., the Mpumalanga Pumas would now have been at or near the top of the Super-8 log?!!!

At the very least I would suggest that the proposed new system should include no less than 8 provincial teams. WE CANNOT AFFORD TO LOSE TEAMS LIKE THE PUMAS OR GRIQUAS FROM THE CURRIE CUP!

Lastly I should like to pay tribute to the real backbone of South African rugby: Those players who will probably never be mentioned when Springbok teams are debated, but who - week in and week out - deliver workmanlike performances for their teams and have provided us, the spectators, with enormous entertainment for many a season. Derick Grobbelaar, Nicky van der Walt, Ralph Schröder, Barry Pinnock, Hannes de Kock, Gunder Williamson, Joe Esterhuyse and Jearus Nicholas, to name but a few. Think abou t it... DON'T LET THESE PLAYERS BECOME LOST TO CURRIE CUP RUGBY!!!


Hi Lucas

Re: Backs

Is it my imagination, or is the play coming from the centres in the Currie Cup better this year?

Methinks its because we have real game players at fly half like Tsimba, Pretorius, Russel and Butch James. Even Chris Rossouw and Quentin van Tonder and Joe Esterhuizen are creating opportunities and space for the back line.

This brings me to my next point: Crash Ball centres are disappearing!! See how Lombard, Du Toit, Botha, Jacobs, Keil, Fleck are playing. The demise of burly centres can be seen in the way the BIG centres play. De Wet Barry is out of sorts, the Bulls wingers hardly see the ball (which will impact negatively on the chances of Human, Passens and Paulse {he was dropped for the match against the Pumas}). With the creative flair of these players, Straeuli must be having very peaceful nights.

Enjoy the last weeks Top 8 clashes and lets hope Free State do it this time around.

JB (Cape Town) 

Dear Lucas,

Re: Oh woe WP!!

If only WP can play rugby the way their supporters cheer. How is it possible with all the "Springbok" talent playing and sitting on the bench we can not play rugby? All our "exports" are showing us up! The lame excuses about contracts etc., are getting a bit hackneyed, and yes Mr Skinstad it is not Hiroshima, but you are being paid to do a job of work SUOSO. While I am about it will someone please tell Chris Rossouw that tries are scored behind the try line NOT the side/touch lines.

Keep up the good work Lucas, RF is an email I look forward too receiving.

Have a good one

Hi Ed,

Re: Bad Refs

Suur druiwe !!!!??? Ja nou kom kla Mnr. De Villiers hand & tand oor die Pumas wat moes gewen het teen die W.P., maar my vorige email oor swak skeidsregters, was daar geen klagtes toe hulle deur is ten koste van die SWD Arende wat deur 2 swak beslissings in 2 wedstryde gemaak is.

Ter herhindering as hy nie kan othou nie Noord Transvaal se laaste drie teen SWD en die vgl wedstryd teen Natal hulle 4de drie. 

Nee ou pellie vreet maar op julle Pumas moes nie eers daar gespeel het nie.

Johann J Verster

Hi Ed,

Re: SA rugby lyk rooskleurig

Vanjaar se Curriebekerreeks het bewys dat SA meer as genoeg spelers het om die wêreldbeker aanstaande jaar te wen. Dit is egter van kardinale belang dat Straeuli en sy medekeurders die regte span kies. Op heelagter kies Werner Greeff homself, vleuls moet Dean Hall en Breyton Paulse wees. Brent Russell moet die reserwe vleuel en heelagter wees. Robbie Fleck moet beslis die een senter wees. Op die stadium lyk Marius Joubert na die beste sentermaat vir hom, hoewel André Snyman, Ettienne Botha en De Wet Barry hard in sy nek blaas. Die skakelpaar moet André Pretorius en Neil de Kock wees met Butch James en Bolla Conradie op die bank. Straeuli kan nie verkeerd gaan met Big Joe, Rassie en Warren Britz as sy lostrio nie en 'n fikse Corné Krige op die bank. Die beseerde Skinstad en Hendrik Gerber kan ook nog in volgende jaar se Super 12 reeks saam met spelers soos Mark Andrews, Joost en Os du Randt stempel afdruk. Victor Matfield is die beste slot in die land. Die ervare, hardwerkende André Venter sal die perfekte slotmaat vir hom wees met AJ Venter op die bank. Met 'n voorry soos Willie Meyer, John Smit en Lawrence Sephaka kan SA enige land poegaai skrum, en dan met Ollie en Lukas van Biljon as impakspelers verdere sout in die opposisie se wonde gooi. Met dié span kan SA enige span ter wêreld laat les opsê.

Johann Loubser

Hi Lucas,

Ek is in hart en siel 'n WP (what problems!) man maar dit maak my nie blind vir hulle foute en onnoselheid (Brent Russell, sic!) nie. Deesdae skree ek nie vir my span nie, ek skree op hulle. Sowat van 'n geploeter is 'n helse frustrasie om gade te slaan en die 'refs' help ook nie veel met hulle bydrae (blapse) nie. Gereken aan die aantal strafskoppe wat die WP afstaan wil dit voorkom of die WP-spelers die enigste siele is wat nie die reels ken nie, of is hulle sommer net onnosel.

Ek moet Marius Stegman gelyk gee en byvoeg dat die manier waarop Brent Russell hanteer is skree ten hemele. Hoe dom of arrogant kan 'n mens wees. Van die eerste Cravenweek-wedstryd wat ek hom sien speel het, het jy daai warm gevoel gehad dat hier is iets spesiaals, ekskuus, 'n 'FOOTBALLER' met ontsaglike talent en potensiaal. Ek ruil met graagte die hele boksemdaais spelers wat aanspraakmakers is op die losskakel posisie in die WP-span, vir een Russelltjie. Asseblieftog, groot asseblief, menere Robert Wagner (met sy swak verskoning), Gert Smal en kie, besin, bely, vra om verskoning, stop die waansin en maak tog reg, dis nog nie te laat nie.

'n Ander sakie wat nogal baie aandag geniet het en waaroor heelwat gepraat en gekerm is, is die rugbybal. Al ooit gedink hoekom hy juis ovaal of eiervormig is? My mening en ek stem saam met Geoff Evans (IRB), die groot en uitsluitlike doel van rugby is om 'n DRIE te druk, dis ook hoekom hy nou vyf punte werd is. Die bal se vorm leen hom meer tot hantering en minder tot skop en dis reg so. Die spring en onvoorspelbaarheid is 'n gegewe. Indien jy die ding wegskop en dink hy gaan vir jou regspring en verseker terugwen, aikona. Vir my onthalwe kan die vervaardigers dit so ontwerp dat dit nog makliker is om te hanteer maar hel moeilik is om te skop. Jy kan enige 'fool' leer skop, maar nie leer systap en rugbyvernuf inprent nie. Daar is menige wat die spel wil speel, maar net sommige wat dit kan speel.

J. Carelse

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