Editors Note


Volume 2, Week 8

Editors Note

Brilliant!     Easter is upon us and many of you will remember the old days when every rugby supporter descended on sunny Durban for the National Club Championships. The titanic battles between the likes of Tukkies, Maties, Despatch and Roodepoort attracted huge crowds and involved living legends of the game, it’s a strange coincidence that Nick Mallett called for the return of an elite club competition in the press this week.

Mallett, a significant figure and highly respected coach had a few truths to say about the current state of rugby, notably the number of professional outfits (too many), politics (too much meddling) and coaching structures (not good enough). All of it made perfect sense but then he’s been there done that, got a Tri Nations title and a world record in test victories. Oh yes and he’s leaving for pastures new overseas after a SARFU restraint of trade (prohibiting him from any coaching) has expired.  ;

A question posed to me in every conversation nowadays is, ‘what is wrong with our rugby?’ often I reverse it by asking the question poser what he or she thinks about the state of our rugby. Most responses are very interesting and people are very opinionated as can be seen from the host of mails received every week, sadly there is a common thread and threat. The gist is that SA rugby teams are fast losing their loyal supporters base. It is not the losing either but more the steady downward spiral that began before the 1999 Rugby World Cup, three years ago! There has been very little respite or improvement and with sport the only escape for people facing economic hardship, it is essential for it to be a silver lining and not a dark cloud.

The latest issue of SA Sports Illustrated contains a few excellent articles and a hypothetical selection of two different Springbok teams, a “new age” and an “ex-pat” team. The former is a promising combo of the best in youth and current performance and the latter a surprisingly strong team of departed talent. With all that experience unavailable to guide and influence our young players, it is abundantly clear why we are struggling to survive!

There is good news, the Australians failed to win a competition! Yes believe it or not, with a nomination in best actor and actress award at the Oscars they failed to win any, could this mean a change in fortunes for the “Wizards of Oz”? The Brumbies are heading to Christchurch to square up against a Crusaders team dead keen on avenging last year’s rout, the Waratahs are facing a resurgent Carlos Spencer inspired Blues team and the Reds need to contain Umaga, Cullen and Lomu et al. all in New Zealand! Truth be told though I wont put any of my meager savings on a complete Australian white wash this weekend!

The French march on, true to the words of La Marseillaise and they might just become the first team to record a Grand slam in the Six Nations. England has notoriously squandered their opportunities and the French will be well aware of the pressures against their recent bogey side, Ireland in Paris in a few week’s time.

Enjoy the long weekend, SA supporters can relax and de-stress with all their teams sporting a bye.


His Master's Voice by Tom Marcellus
Like all fans of The Voice of Rugby, Bill McLaren, it was with a twinge of sadness and nostalgia that I learnt that the wizened old schoolmaster is now on the brink of retiring from the game that he has served with such distinction for over half a century. I have been a lifelong fan of his emotive "burr", and his description of a youthful Jouba as "that big burrrly Sprrringbok frrrom the Orrrange Frrreee State" will forever be etched in my memory. What dyed-in-the-wool rugger fan, propped up over a few Boksburg Chardonnays in the gloomy corner of some dingy pub somewhere in the world, will ever hear the word "Garryowen" and not think of the inimitable McLaren?

I can at least boast a personal, albeit highly tenuous, personal link with Auld Bill. You see, a few months ago, I invited Bill to speak at a dinner that I have been trying to set up, and I was most touched when, a couple of weeks later, a mangy envelope with a "Hawick" postmark arrived on my doorstep. With his typical old world grace and charm, Bill offered his thanks for the invitation but politely declined, explaining that he was away in Rome on Six Nations duty on the planned date. Needless to say, I was very touched that one of the world's most famous rugger personalities had taken the time to write to little ol' me, a sweaty arm-chair critic on the ars*-end of the globe. Sadly, the same could not be said of a number of our own, lesser, rugby luminaries, who deigned not to respond to this humble scribe's grovelling invitations. But then that's what happens when corporal punishment goes out the window….

I have also followed with great interest Bill's selection for The Times (of London) of his "Best-Ever" XV, in which he has selected a team comprised of the best players that he has ever seen. A player was selected each week over a number of months, starting with the fullback, which meant that each selection was preceded by some anticipation, ever-increasing as the selection of the forwards, especially those glory boys amongst the loose-forwards, approached.

My biggest gripe in the initial stages was that Bill seemed to display a healthy (how shall I put it?) fondness for pasty-faced dwellers from northern latitudes, especially those from north of Watford. With their customary vigour, those war-mongerers from the Land of the Long White Cloud were soon spurred into action by these seemingly home-town decisions, and aimed a number of barbed comments at the old man for the lack of All Blacks in the team's backline.

In fact, I'm sure that many a leather-faced boerseun, fresh from his farmlands in the Marico district, would have been similarly outraged had he been privy to some of Bill's decisions. Sadly, The Times is probably still viewed as a subversive publication in those parts and, in any event, English is still the tail of the anti-Christ, ?

The selections that I followed with most interest were outside centre (would the Doring van Despatch crack the nod?), flyhalf (naturally), both locks, and no 8. Meads and Du Preez, who had each been voted "Player of the 20th Century" by their respective countries, were my choice for the engine-room, but I was concerned that, considering some of his decisions in the selection of the team's backline, Bill would plump for the legendary Willie-John McBride or, given his recent successes in the Wallaby jumper, John Eales.

I was also interested in his choice of midfield supremo, not because I thought that Naas or any other Bok was in with much of a shout, but because the nature of a flyhalf's job is such that the player deemed to be the best flyhalf in the world, by definition, has to be amongst the best players in the world. Would it be Barry John or Phil Bennett, Hugo Porta or, at a push, Lynagh?

Zinzan Brooke was my clear choice for eighthman, but, being a bluff old sentimentalist, I did harbour a glimmer of hope that the Greyhound of the Veld, one HSV Muller, would be in with a chance. After all, Bill had made his debut as a commentator a mere week after the great Windhond had lead his stormtroopers to victory in the glorious "Murrayfield Massacre", when the Boks had scored 44 and Scotland "had been lucky to get nil". (As an aside, Bill had used these exact words in his letter to me.)

Four positions seemed to be sure things: Campo on the left wing, Edwards at the base of the scrum, our old nemesis, Patrick Fitzsean, at hooker, and the menacing Pine Tree at no 5.

In the end, Bill's XV was a hotchpotch of the great and the good, the predictable and the shocker. My boyhood hero, Gerber, all bushy eyebrows and pumping thighs, did, after all, manage to pip Philippe Sella to the no 13 berth, much to the indignation of his gallant countrymen, many of whom had seemingly never heard of the upstart South African. Happily, Frik and his great rival were selected to wear the no 4 and 5 jerseys respectively, and the Windhond did, at least, enjoy an honourable mention amongst Bill's clutch of legendary eighthmen. Much to the indignation of many Kiwis, Zinny was selected at no 6, with Mervyn Davies, the towering Welshman, slotting in at no 8.

Two selections stood out as surprising, to say the least. Fergus Slattery ousted Michael Jones for the blindside flanker berth and, horror of horrors, the rather mechanical Rob Andrew was chosen as flyhalf. Once again, The Times' fire-wall must have been clogged with abusive e-mail, this time typed by the gnarled forefinger of a hardened Welsh coalminer. A torrent of abuse poured in from the Rhondda Valley, as Welshmen vented their frustrations that the skills of John or Bennett could be over-looked in favour of this meddling Englander. As for poor Naas, well, he didn't even feature as a contender. Perhaps he'll do better next time, but only if he keeps up with his personal correspondence.

With his unique blend of charm, understated humour, matchless knowledge and diligent application, McLaren has enriched the game that we all love. A well-earned rest is due – nag, ou grote.

PS Laying down the gauntlet (albeit with the greatest of respect), here is my XV of old, old Boks to take on Bill's glorious team in heaven …… one day.

  McLaren's XV Marcellus' Bok XV
15 Andy Irvine (Sco) Gerry Brand
14 Gerald Davies (Wal) Jannie Engelbrecht
13 Danie Gerber (SA) John Gainsford
12 Mike Gibson (Ire) (capt) Ryk van Schoor
11 David Campese (Aus) Carel du Plessis
10 Rob Andrew (Eng) Bennie Osler (v/c)
9 Gareth Edwards (Wal) Danie Craven
1 Fran Cotton (Eng) Okey Geffin
2 Sean Fitzpatrick (NZ) (v/c) Boy Louw
3 Graham Price (Wal) Chris Koch
4 Frik du Preez (SA) Phil Nel
5 Colin Meads (NZ) Polla Roos (capt)
6 Zinzan Brooke (NZ) Martin Pelser
7 Fergus Slattery (Ire) Jan Ellis
8 Mervyn Davies (Wal) Hennie Muller (Die Windhond)
Coach:    God (they'll need all the help they can get) AF Oubaas Markőtter


North and South by Desmond Organ

The concept of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres competing on an annual basis is once again looming in the background of several administrative discussions. Currently the World Cup and IRB sanctioned tours between the hemispheres are the mainstay of this form of competition. However, the discussions between England, South Africa and Australia regarding an annual event between the countries are starting to gain momentum.

To a lesser degree, the Coastal Sharks have already got the ball rolling after their pre–season friendly with Harlequins. All this seems extremely exciting and adventurous; yet it is hardly what the players need. It strikes me as quite bizarre that the discussions are taking place without the involvement of a players’ representative body. It is also clear that the IRB does not have control over its member nations. This is not that surprising considering the manner in which rugby has evolved into a pr ofessional sport. The IRB is quite correctly doing everything that it can to develop the game into a world wide phenomenon; that they are doing this against the background of competing local and regional initiatives is concerning.

I could list a multitude of initiatives that are currently going on in world rugby, but to do so is simply stating the obvious. I am more concerned about some of the glaring inequalities in the game and the gap that appears to be emerging between the top five or six and the balance of the competitors. It is alarming that several former giants are floundering; to the point that they are just about considered developing rugby nations. What currently protects them is the number of votes that the home un ions have in the IRB. It will become more and more alarming to administrators in other countries that countries like Wales and Ireland have more voting power than say Australia and South Africa.

The strategic initiatives of Northern and Southern Hemisphere competitors are also extremely different. Australia is attempting to develop the game as a national sport, South Africa is grappling with transformation and New Zealand is attempting to maintain the status quo, without considering the needs of the Tri Nations co-competitors. This latter comment may seem somewhat harsh; but then there are the events surrounding the 2003 World Cup. In the Northern hemisphere the gap between England, France a nd the balance is getting greater by the day; with only Ireland appearing capable of re-engineering their structures in an attempt to catch up, which by the way appears to be paying dividends. 

I think that the time has come for a major strategic initiative aimed at developing the game globally whilst continuing to maintain the traditional strengths of the game. The most urgent requirement is for a global season that allows for the local and regional competitions to continue without jeopardizing the annual Northern and Southern hemisphere competitions. There must be a period of at least three months where the players from the leading nations can obtain the necessary rest. 

Put simply, the leading countries must structure a system whereby they compete once a year, not twice a year as is currently the case, there has to be a way to structure a season which accommodates the Tri Nations and the Six Nations. The provincial/club competitions must also be structured to accommodate the individual countries that compete. An example of this is the NPC and Currie Cup and its integration into the Super 12 tournament. 

Let us not forget the development initiatives that are currently being undertaken in Australia, South Africa and other countries; many of the strategic initiatives differ, but the result is the same, too many games for too few players. This is not limited to countries with a large rugby populations, it also applies to countries like Australia. A comparison of the situation in South Africa and Australia provides a good example of the challenges facing the rugby world.

South Africa has a large rugby playing population and is currently grappling with the process of transformation, the demands of the Super 12, Tri Nations and bi- annual games against Northern hemisphere teams is taking it’s toll on the players; whilst also eroding the strength of the club rugby structures. The Vodacom Cup is seen as one of the means of achieving transformation; without being too critical, one has to admit that the process may increase the number of players from previously disadvantag ed backgrounds, but it is not resulting in an improvement in the skills required to play the game at the next level. The real breading ground of talent should be at the schoolboy and club rugby levels. The improvement of representation at this level will result in a less demanding progression to the next level and will limit the number of players of talent that are thrown in at the deep end. 

It is little wonder that South Africans teams are struggling in the Super 12, this competition is not the place to build basic skills; it is the place to put them on display. The club structure should be the location of development and the Currie Cup should be the means to develop players of national ability.

Australia has a slightly different scenario in that they do not have as cluttered a season as South Africa, yet their development plans are not that different. They are trying to broaden their player base. There are probably 45 top rugby players in Australia and they are competing in the Super 12, they are not facing the same uphill struggle as South Africa because they do not have a Currie Cup. There players play less games and are better prepared than their South African counterparts. Australia has taken the game from a two state presence to a national one; with plans to go even further. The development of all facets of the game from skills to rules and refereeing has been strategically planned and implemented.

A similar comparison could be made between England and Scotland, the point is that there needs to be a strategic re- think as far as individual countries are concerned. The IRB is responsible for expanding the game into new areas, current rugby strongholds must be allowed to develop the game in their own back yards and within the overall structures of the IRB. A good start would be a shorter season, one that begins in January and ends in September.


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The Focus - Going Forward by Mark Foster

The weekend’s round of Super 12 matches failed, yet again to provide a victorious South African team. For all intents and purposes this year’s competition is over for the Sharks, Cats and Bulls. The Stormers may produce an upset to rival France’s drubbing of the All Blacks in the 1999 Rugby World Cup, by winning all their games on the road but peace in the Middle East is more likely. What should the focus be in the next five to six weeks?

The main focus, going forward for the various franchises must be to serve the aims and objectives of the national coach i.e. provincialism or regionalism should bow before nationalism. The new Springbok coach, Rudolph Straeuli must be empowered to not only “request” but instruct team coaches to include players he has earmarked for the Springboks this year. Mr Straeuli may only take up his new post at the beginning of April but he must have a fair reflection of players, a) capable and b) willing to pl ay for the Springboks. Traditionalists may frown on the “willing” bit but let’s face it, not all players are as willing any more as their illustrious amateur predecessors. There is the mighty pound carrot dangling in front of noses and physical burnout to contend with. 

With six matches remaining and a two-week rest the South African sides must regroup and concentrate and rectify some glaring weaknesses. The administrators should not spare any costs and swallow all pride to involve the right people in fixing these shortcomings. The Bulls for example are in desperate need of a defensive coach, one on one there is no problem however if any opposing backline calls a move involving a loop or the drifting of players their line is breached. Les Kiss did some sterling work with the national team as well as the Stormers, why is he not involved at the Bulls and horror over horror if he is!

Another important focus is to work on the players psyche because losing becomes a mental habit, obviously best rectified by winning. Sport psychology is playing a more and more prominent role today - look no further than Ernie Els who is back on the winning track after admitting the prominent role of a sport psychologist in his preparations.

The South African teams do not lack talent but can do with some extra skills – this problem must be addressed at the highest level and more importantly rectification must begin immediately. The Stormers are benefiting from the presence of two outstanding Springboks, one known as the prince of wings (Carel Du Plessis), more ex-players of their caliber must be involved at all levels especially the Vodacom Cup to prepare players for the step up to Super 12.

The players should not fear losing especially from a superior side what they need to do is learn from their own mistakes and also learn from the opposition. Rugby is a game for the mind as much as it is physical; somehow our players have forgotten to use this vital organ – the brain.

It is always easier to sit from the sidelines and criticize but there is hardly a player or team out there willingly playing bad rugby – introspection and honesty is needed to find out what the problems are, there ought to be loads, these problems must be escalated and resolved. We can forget about this Super 12 but we need fit, happy and mentally strong players for the upcoming tests and Tri Nations. There is two months to do at least something before the first test of the year.


Super 12 Log


Played Won Lost Bonus Points Points
Brumbies 5 5 0 4 24
Waratahs 5 5 0 4 24
Highlanders 5 4 1 4 20
Crusaders 4 4 0 1 17
Hurricanes 5 3 2 2 14
Stormers 5 2 3 3 11
Blues 4 2 2 2 10
Reds 4 2 2 2 10
Cats 5 1 4 1 5
Chiefs 4 0 4 3 3
Bulls 5 0 5 1 1
Sharks 5 0 5 1 1

Rugby Forum Super 12 XV

After 5 weeks in the competition with a few teams enjoying byes the selection of this team is with the hypothetical aim of playing the best combination of the Six Nations.

1. Bill Young (Brumbies)
2. Jeremy Paul (Brumbies)
3. Rod Moore (Waratahs)
4. Justin Harrison (Brumbies)
5. Chris Jack (Crusaders)
6. George Smith (Brumbies)
7. Owen Finnegan (Brumbies)
8. Toutai Kefu  (Reds)
9. George Gregan (Brumbies)
10. Tony Brown (Highlanders)
11. Graeme Bond (Brumbies)
12. Aaron Mauger (Crusaders)
13. Stirling Mortlock (Brumbies)
14. Jeff Wilson (Highlanders)
15. Matt Rogers (Waratahs)

South African players are spoilt, unprofessional and not mentally and physically tough enough for Super 12 rugby.    Balie Swart

How can we begin to look at the answers if we don't understand the questions?     Unknown

Some decisions made have been purely for political reasons. "I'll support you if you support me" has been the bane of South African rugby.      Nick Mallett

On South Africa's quota system - There can't be a revolution without bloodshed.     Bob Dwyer 

There has been an extremely high turnover of coaches at Springbok level. Some changes may have been made too hastily and others were clearly necessary. Looking ahead, however, we must seek to establish consistency, exercise patience, encourage excellence and provide support.        Silas Nkanunu

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

It's about time South Africans stopped being so bloody polite!

Every time our players go out to play against Australian and New Zealand sides, whether it be test matches or Super 12 games, they are up against 16 players and unfortunately the 16th player not another player, but the referee!

The absolutely unashamed bias of the Australasian referees is killing our rugby. This is not a case of sour grapes or blaming the refs for our run of poor form, but it is so obvious I can't believe that no-one is doing anything about it. I have watched many Super 12 and Test matches and have seldom seen a referee who gives us the benefit of the doubt.

I have just watched the Stormers lose to the Brumbies. I acknowledge that the Brumbies were a superior side, however what galls me is how the ref only watches one side of the action. He was so intent on finding fault with the Stormers, that he did not see the blatant infringements committed by the Brumbies time and again. In addition, when the Stormers tried to get away with what the Brumbies were doing, they were penalised! Why? - Because the ref does not look for infringements committed by the B rumbies unless it happens in front of his eyes. Even then he gives them unacceptable latitude. Latitude he did not give the Stormers. How often did you hear the ref calling the Brumbies to roll away after the tackle! The fact that they were always lying on the wrong side of the ruck, slowing down the Stormers ball time and time again, was completely missed by the ref. I am not surprised that the Stormers started stomping late in the game. They should have started a lot earlier and maybe the ref would have asked himself the question. Or maybe he wouldn't have, because he knew very well why!

This blatant bias was not only apparent in the Stormers / Brumbies game, but almost every game I have watched this season, not to mention previous seasons! Take the end of the first half of Bulls / Highlanders game on Friday night. The ref had warned the Highlanders that the next time a player goes over the ruck to slow the ball down, he would give the individual a yellow card. What happens - the last move of the half, with the Bulls battering away at the Highlanders line, a Highlander player just does that. What does the ref do? Blows for the end of the half! One could see from the expression on the Highlander player's face that he expected to get a ye llow card! Had that been a South African player, he would have got his marching orders!

There are countless more examples of this type of bias practiced by the refs. We South Africans in typical fashion, scratch our heads trying to understand why we always seem to have substantially more penalties against us than for us. The answer is quite simple if you study the games. You will notice how the refs devote most of the game looking for transgressions on the part if the South African sides. Being so intent on finding fault with the South African side, they can't see the murder that the opposite side is getting away with!

I blame any foul play by any player on the ref. The ref should be penalized if he has to give anyone a yellow or red card. If you seek the reason for foul play, it is more often than not the result of frustration created by the ineptitude or bias of the referee.

I am getting to the point where I don't want to watch any Super 12 rugby. If we don't deal with this problem now and stop being so polite, we are going to see a huge stay away by South African supporters.

Compounding this problem, our administrators and politicians are devoting all their time on ensuring the right colour mix on the field instead of spending all this energy on developing our talent and dealing with the real problems in our rugby. There are thousands of very talented players of colour in South Africa and if these people concentrated on developing this talent, they would not need to insist on the right colour mix!

Geoff Hull

To the Ed,

Great article as always. Your mention of Kevin Putt as the new Sharks coach, and within Rugby Forum a couple of question marks over his pedigree, ability and experience at this level refers.

Every coach, without exception was once a novice at Super 12 level. What Kevin brings, and I think a great thing, is the willingness to revert to INTELLIGENT play. This, I fear, is what is missing in South African rugby. The crash ball in the backline as played by the likes of Braam van Straten, etc does not work and has been shown up too many times for any coach to try to continue.

Remember players like Dick Muir and Henry Honiball of Natal who could asses the play. Like Jan Molby of Liverpool in the late 80s, it wasn't about being speedy, it was about "Reading the game" and knowing where the ball should go, at the right time.

Jan Molby (for those who don't remember him) played in the midfield for Liverpool in their heyday. I think he was Danish or Swedish. The point is he was short and over-weight, wasn't fast and never ran a lot. But when he received the ball, he threaded the defense with his pin-point passing, and Dick Muir had the same type of reading of the game. The ability to work out what was happening, and what would happen next, and then create something from that.

Which all brings me back to Kevin Putt. On the Sharks website he admits he was never a physical player. But he had tactical knowledge. It's all about intelligent play, and the sooner the Sharks and other poorly achieving SA sides realise this, the sooner we will have some success. With all the anti-Putt sentiment, I think he deserves to be given a chance!

Just my 2c worth!

Cheers and keep up the good work.


Dear Ed

I watched today as the Sharks again crumbled to a good (not brilliant) Waratahs side. In the scrums we competed well, the loose ok! but our three quarters were out played.

I decided today that the main difference between the SA teams and the rest is that for the most part they are just better! Sad but true and the real question is how will we close the gap. The 2nd question is where or when will we find another fly half , where have all the world class centers gone or am I dreaming that we ever really had any. Danie Gerber etc Sorry to sound negative but I am looking for light in a very dark tunnel . 

George in JHB

Hi Ed.

Surely the use of mittens by the Highlanders gives them an unfair advantage with the ball handling. It was evident against both the Sharks and Stormers.


Geagte Redakteur

Nadat ek week 7 se uitgawe van Rugby Forum gelees het, het ek gedink daar is sekere sake wat ek wil aanspreek.

Rakende u tweede paragraaf oor die broer in die tronk die volgende: Hier by ons gaan dit nou al so dat mense gaan kuier. Nadat hulle gegroet het, sit hulle vir twee tot drie ure doodstil, sê nie 'n woord nie. Almal weet waaroor hulle wil gesels maar is te skaam om te begin of iets te sê. Na omtrent drie uur groet hulle maar weer en vertrek. Almal weet waaroor die 'gesprekke' gegaan het en almal stem saam, "Suid-Afrika se sport is in 'n moerse gemors." Dus, ons praat nie daaroor nie.

In connection with what the coaches from other Super 12 teams have to say about South African rugby, we can only agree. It is a mess. As I said before, "A brilliant mess!" Yet, there is something we can do about it. SARFU can treat them in the same way as they treat us. Give them the worst accommodation in town, forbid them to practice on fields of their choice, make life as difficult as possible for them when they come to our shores. That is what they do to our teams. Like the English say, "What's good for the goose, is good for the gander." Then we'll see if they still have a mouth full about our rugby.

Ek stem 100% saam met Tom Marcellus dat dit tyd geword het om die ou hout uit te kap en die nuwe lote te laat groei. Daar is manne wat nog net in naam goed was. 'n Sportheld moet altyd op die kruin van die golf ry en as dit lyk of hy wil afval, moet hy padgee. Ons sal nou nie name van huidige spelers noem nie, maar selfs cdie briljantste senter van so 20, 25 jaar gelede, ja Danie Gerber, het amper te lank aangehou. Gelukkig was sy prestasies so groot dat dit eerder onthou word as die feit dat die WP nie mooi geweet het of hy teen die einde moet vleuel of senter speel nie. Daar is jong manne wat nou na vore tree om die helde van 1995 se wêreldbekerspan se plekke in te neem. Laat ons hulle nou inspan.

Oor die 6 Nasies kompetisie moet ons waak teen daardie ou gedagte dat die Noorde se rugby agter is. Engeland en Frankryk is nie die enigste twee spanne in die noordelike halfrond nie. Verlede jaar het die VSA se Eagles die duiwel uit ons manne geduik. Ja goed, dit was twee Boerseuns op senter wat meeste skade verrig het, maar onthou, as hulle eers 'n vreemde land se trui aangetrek het, is hulle verlore vir ons. In Frankryk spog hulle met Pieter de Villiers en die Italianers het ook een van ons seuns in hulle span. Verder is daar van ons afrigters wat in Rusland, Suidsee-Eilande en waar nog oral planne beraam om naam te maak. Dit teen die Bokke!

Dan word daar genoem dat van die basiese dinge wat ons veertig jaar en meer, gelede geleer het, nou skielik kop uitsteek in rugby. Ek sê dis bog. Die feit dat ons agterlyne vlak speel is 'n siekte wat ge-erf is van die Henry Honiball era. Hy was sterk en kon dit doen, maar elke skole afrigter wat sy sout werd is en weet waaroor afrigting gaan sal vir jou sê, 'n losskakel moet sy posisie agter vaste fassette afwissel. Dit is deel van die spel om die opponent aan die raai te hou. Iets wat ons agterlyne wel vergeet het, Werner Greeff uitgesluit, is dat 'n agterlyn net kan aanval as die losskakel die bal op volle vaart ontvang. Met ander woorde, hy moet in die bal in hardloop en sy medespelers saam met hom trek. Ek glo dit is die grootste enkele fout in ons agterspel.

Ek wil my by Tjaart Coetzee se stelling voeg, naamlik dat daar nou reeds 8 jaar verby is. Die wat hulle self as "agtergeblewenes" gevoel of beskou het, julle het genoeg tyd gehad om êrens te kom. Alles moet nie van die sogenaamde bevoorregtes se kant kom nie. Sluit by 'n klub aan, oefen getrou en so hard as wat jy kan en jy sal die vrugte pluk as jy moet. Baie van ons het leer rugby speel op oop stukke grond waar bees- en varkmis gestrooi gelê het, sonder kleedkamers of pawiljoene. Die Boere sê, "Waa r 'n wil is, is 'n weg." Dan sal die kwota gemors ook verdwyn.

Dan wil ek iets aanraak wat tydens 'n "Superrugby" program op Kyk-net gesê is. 'Laerskool onderwysers leer die seuns nie werklik die vaardighede van rugby nie', as ek reg verstaan. Mense, weet julle watter werk laerskool afrigters insit tydens rugbyoefenses-sies? Onthou, wanneer die onder 8 seuntjies opdaag is daar geen benul van die reëls, of wat ookal van rugby nie. Al wat hulle wil doen is om te speel. Teen die tyd dat daardie seuntjie in 'n onder 9 span op die veld draf, speel hy al rugby, baie k eer aanskouliker en konstruktiewer as die groot mans. Ek wil my verstout om te sê dit is in die hoërskole waar die rugby afrigting afgeskeep word. Behalwe as dit 'n sogenaamde "tradisionele rugby hoërskool" is.

Dankie vir die puik leesstof.


Beste Ed

Ek woon in London en is Engels spekend, ek het nie Afrikaans vir jare lank gepraat nie, maar ek het Tjaart Coetzee se brief gelees en baie geniet. Ek hou baie van die "Quotes" wat in elke RugbyForum verskyn, en ek dink dat een van Tjaart se sinne moet volgende week daar wees.

"Kry die wortels van ons sport reg en ons sal nie meer kleur sien nie, maar sportmanne en -vroue wat ons land trots maak al is die span te wit of swart."

Mooi so Tjaart, ek stem heeltemaal saam.

Charles Knight

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