Editors Note


Volume 4, Week 10

Editors Note

Brilliant!       Two points, most of you will agree is not much especially in a competition where a winner is afforded 4 and there are bonus points for all kinds of good behaviour. A quick squiz at the Super 12 log reveals that after round 7 it is tighter than the 11th fairway at Augusta or better known as the start of Amen corner. Like most golfers navigating their way around there since 1934, a few rugby teams will be doing a lot of praying in the coming weeks.

The past weekend delivered one of the better matches of the season; the Brumbies were demolished by a superb effort from the lost-three-in-the-beginning Crusaders. When Joe ‘Cool’ displayed an uncanny resemblance to one Gaffie du Toit at his pre-2004 best the Brumbies probably knew it was going to be a looong day and despite the other experienced and younger players rallying around him, the Brumbies lost to a superior forward effort from the New Zealand side. They exploited the Brumbies weakness at the rucks and mauls and never gave them the opportunity to slot into their characteristic multi-phase attacks. Combative and ruthless, the Crusaders pack marauded like their namesakes of old and provided enough territory and possession to outmuscle the Aussies. (apologies, spelt last week with only one ‘s’) 

Young Cameron McIntyre was splendid and looks a fine player for the future and Clyde Rathbone, (repeated ad nauseam as the ex South African - he is gone, he is an Aussie now, forget about him!) played arguably his best match in what is turning out to be a fine debut season on wing. Many people have asked and wondered how good he would have been had he stayed in SA? Well, it is an interesting question because somewhere in this week’s rugby literature a parallel was drawn between him and Jorrie Mulle r, both of the same U21 world cup winning team, and their respective fortunes. 

Rathbone, was injured the whole of last season but this avid reader can recall a comment from the Brumbie coaching staff saying that a tremendous amount of work was done to get Rathbone’s skills up to par with the rest of the team… and it shows. He is a far better player now and it must be as result of the Aussies unconditional approach to skills rather than pure brawn. He is the consummate professional who can swerve, tackle and kick with both feet – everything a wing should do and his only weak point so far was under the high ball. Most important, he has confidence and faith in his ability, unlike poor Jorrie. This armchair selector certainly expects him in the Australian squad of 22 this year.

Talking about the Brumbies, coach David Nucifora’s contract will not be extended at the end of this season after a relatively successful period in charge. The decision seem a harsh one and if the side can lift the trophy this year it will make a mockery of the ACT coach selection policy. This is just the kind of motivation a team requires to go and win the comp, if there is the right kind of respect for the coach.

The Cats and Sharks met in what was the Natal boys’ 100th Super 12 match and in true Sharks style they almost stuffed up another ‘emotional’ occasion. The team did not look like the committed squad we all watched on television in Australasia; in fact they were very laisez faire and if the Cats were a better team with confidence they would have hammered the Sharks. Few of the players stood out in a scrappy affair that resembled the ‘old’ SA standards of last season. Visiting teams analyzing this match will not exactly quake in their respective boots least of all the two best New Zealand teams who are due this weekend. 

The Sharks are up against the Crusaders and they will have to improve in urgency by at least 60% and their forward pack, so capable on tour need to step up to the plate. At the breakdown, Luke Watson will be measured against one of the best in the business, Richie McCaw and expect the visitors to exploit Davidson’s slow decision making and service to James to cut of the Sharks backline. The only option will be for Butchie to kick as he stands deeper and deeper or do the old try and tested Trevor Halstead cutback and this is where Richie will come out rich. Turnover ball will be ruthlessly exploited by a very good centre combination and with Ben Blair and Vunibaka (if he can catch it) the Crusaders have very dangerous runners. 

This is a watershed match for Butch, is he good enough this season to be the dominant wearer of the no10 Springbok jumper? A firm favourite of this writer a few seasons ago he lost the plot and his game completely however this season has seen a marked improvement in his temperament and play. The acid test as always will come under pressure and he can bury his opponents in SA with a competent and dictating display against one of the best sides, so Butchie, the ball is firmly in your court fella!

The Bulls and Stormers are back in action this week and both will be confident with their form and ability to win matches against foreign opposition. Of the two the Stormers have an ideal opportunity to beat an unsettled Reds team struggling with injuries, they need to exploit the inexperienced players that will no doubt be used and dominate around the fringes and rucks, an area the Stormers have been neglecting. If they manage that, the class of Paulse, Joubert and Gaffie (if on song and not suffe ring a Joe Cool day) will carry the Cape side through. The Bulls face the champions and need to assert their pattern in a big way and eliminate any turnovers; the Blues backline is a finely tuned scoring machine, which require very little petrol to fire. 

RF will be taking a break next week so happy Easter to all, enjoy all the wonderful rugby and this writer will certainly be in front of the telly most of the time watching Super 12 and the Masters at Augusta! Back on the 21st.



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Swimming into Dangerous Waters by Desmond Organ
There can be no doubt that the second half of the 2004 Super 12 is likely to be one of the most closely contested for several years. A few points is all that separates the current top four from several other semi final aspirants. Graham Henry the All Black coach has already commented on the degree of importance that he is placing on the remainder of the Super 12 as far as All Black selection is concerned. Our own Jake White has committed himself to a group of 22 for the first test against Ireland a nd has openly expressed a level of dissatisfaction at the performances of several heavyweights from 2003.

In the midst of all this uncertainty, one South African team faces a stern test in its desire to once again contest the semi finals of the competition. Whilst there are undoubtedly die hard Stormers and Bulls supporters out there, history tells us that the Sharks have the most realistic chance of making it beyond the regular round robin stage. This is simply because of the fact that the Sharks have already secured the required two overseas victories that typically determine whether or not a South A frican team will progress. Miracles do happen and I will be hoping that both the Stormers and the Bulls provide South Africa with several more favourable results.

The Sharks have several factors in their favour despite their unpredictable home record of recent years. The first factor is that the Sharks have beaten the Hurricanes in 2004. Since 1996 the Sharks have only progressed to the semi final stages when they have beaten this particular outfit. History also shows us that the result against the Waratahs was not necessarily as bad as some have made it out to be. The Sharks have always been on the receiving end of a poor result both in terms of performance and points scored in every year of the competition, except perhaps for 1996 and 2001.

Since the beginning of the Super 12, the Sharks have progressed on occasions when they have won three games on the road. This year they have already achieved that mark and two of the victories have come against opponents from New Zealand. This was sufficient for three semi final and two finals appearances in the past. The critical factor that separates this year’s team from achieving a semi final birth is the need for at least two more victories and a draw to be almost guaranteed qualification. Thr ee wins at home will almost certainly open the door to a semi final berth and four victories will bring a home semi final into the equation.

The challenge for the Sharks is that despite the favourable statistics, they have more often than not failed against several of the opponents that face them in the remaining weeks of the competition. Saturdays game against the Crusaders is perhaps a make or break for the home team from a psychological perspective. Victory against the Crusaders would not only propel the team to four consecutive victories, a statistic that has seen them progress in the past, but it would break a run on of seven conse cutive losses against this team. The Sharks have not beaten the men from Christchurch since 1997 and have lost to them on four out of the five occasions that they have played in Durban.

A loss to the Crusaders would not put them out of the race as they have the resurgent Chiefs a week later. This outfit has only succeeded in winning once at Kings Park and has a very poor record against the Sharks in general. It is however almost essential that the Sharks win at least two of the matches against the visiting New Zealand teams. This is simply because it would put them within consummate reach of the points required for a semi final berth. This becomes even clearer when you consider th e results that the Sharks have achieved against the Reds and the Stormers in recent years.

The Sharks have also lost four times out of the five that they have encountered the Reds in Durban and they have not beaten them at any venue since 1998. Despite having a far better record against the Blues both at home and away, victory against two of their traditional problem teams would be a real booster to their chances. The last thing that the Sharks need is to have to beat the Stormers in their final match at home. It would be a huge psychological challenge if you consider the results against this particular team in recent years. 

There are of course several years in which the Sharks have not performed at home, positively however one can refer to the fact that they have all their remaining matches at home and have already won the first of those matched, thus preventing a recurrence of the six home losses of 2000.

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Team of the Week

2003 Week 7

2004 Week 7

Position Name Team Position Name Team
15 Joe Roff Brumbies 15 Cameron Shepard Waratahs
14 Andrew Walker Brumbies 14 Clyde Rathborne Brumbies
13 Tana Umaga Hurricanes 13 Seilala Mapasua Highlanders
12 Paul Steinmetz Highlanders 12 Wayne Julies Cats
11 Mark Gerrard Waratahs 11 Joe Rocokoko Blues
10 Stephen Larkham Brumbies 10 Cameron MCintyre Crusaders
9 Chris Whitaker Waratahs 9 Chris Whitaker Waratahs
8 Pedrie Wannenberg Bulls 8 John Roe Reds
7 Jerry Collins Hurricanes 7 Richie McCaw Crusdaers
6 Phil Waugh Waratahs 6 Marty Holah Chiefs
5 Simon Mailing Highlanders 5 AJ Venter Sharks
4 Geo  Cronje Bulls 4 Jono Gibbes Chiefs
3 Richard Bands Bulls 3 Dave Hewitt Crusaders
2 Anton Oliver Highlanders 2 John Smit Sharks
1 Carl Hoeft Highlanders 1 Os Du Randt Cats

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The average person would not understand the report because of its complexities and let's not forget the subjectivity in the report.          Freek Burger on why the referee's assessments are not made public

We embark on the tour with high expectations, since this team has the character, fighting spirit and determination of a winner.       Rudy Joubert, Bulls coach

The players are still very positive, they want to show that they are much better than what the results say. Chester Williams, Cats coach

All the top players countrywide are undergoing special tests at the moment so I will know exactly who can, for example, jump the highest among the locks and who among the wings can run the fastest. We will take all these factors, as well as establishing how well the players are performing, into consideration when we choose the team for the first Test.          Jake White

The glories of 2003 are the very undoing of this side. Sloane says they lack confidence, yet it seems an overabundance of misplaced confidence is the actual problem. They will try anything, from anywhere, in every situation.            Chris Rattue on the Blues

There has been a lot of speculation about how good we really are. It is fair to ask whether we have perhaps had the benefit of a bit of luck and to comment that we are just scraping to victory. There has been no faulting the team spirit and commitment, but how good are we really?       Kevin Putt, bound to find out against the Crusaders

Pasta - 200 kilograms/ day
Fruit juice - 500 litres/ day
Eggs - 2000/ day
Sliced fruit - 100 kg/ day
Meat - 350 kg/ day
Bread - 150 loaves/ day

DAILY shopping list of the Elangeni hotel in Durban where all the teams of the U19 world cup is staying

I don't think that New Zealanders, the union and the public understand what it takes to be a professional international side. They are all still in a hurry, looking for an immediate outcome. They also tend to look backwards too much.     John Mitchell

Perhaps I was a bit ahead of my time for them in some areas. I always knew that if we missed out on the Webb Ellis Cup then my future was in doubt. New Zealanders need to understand that progression doesn't come in large lumps, that professionalism has seen an equalisation at the top end and that it takes time to improve.   John Mitchell

Good coaches close the deal.    John Mitchell

I know that to many people this may seem like a strange decision, but we as a board considered what we need to take us forward and weve decided not to offer David Nucifora a further extension of his contract.    ACTRU chief executive, Rob Clarke

Despite what has gone on and the appalling way I have been dealt with, I am committed to the success of the team for the season and will do everything possible to ensure we win the 2004 Super 12.       David Nucifora 

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Letters to the Editor
Hi Lucas

SA Rugby

At last you and Desmond are call the shots regarding SA Rugby! Why do you think Jerry Springer tape his Saturday Night Live in Gauteng? He had to much competition in Cape Town. It is actual a sorry state of affairs that we have this bunch of s*&$ faced a!@#$% running the sport which we love. All they are worried about is were the next hand out is coming from and who will stroke their ego's. Are they even remotely worried about the game? Do any of them know what professionalism actually mean s, and that it is not lining your own pockets with funds that do not belong to you? Now they want to discipline Corne Krige for talking and stating the truth, what an absolute joke or as call it Brilliant! Ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be wise!
Maybe it is time that you get their email addresses and send them these letters you get - then again will they know how to use a PC? One wonders.

Have a good one, and hey be careful out there


Hi Lucas

Ek wil my vandag skaar aan die kant van Kys de Wet en sy kommentaar oor Katzenellenbogen. Ek wil dit egter duidelik stel dat ek nie suur druiwe het nie. Die Stormers het onwettige taktiek gebruik, weggekom daarmee, en verdien om te wem. Basta!

Maar o wee, ek kan nie verstaan hoe Sarfu ( Freek en sy hoofmanne ) keer-op-keer dieselfde fout begaan
nie. Wat moet gedoen word sodat hierdie here kan besef Katzenellenbogen is nie geskik vir die vlak waar hy
wedstryde hanteer nie ??? Feit van die saak is dat daar ongeveer 12 skeidsregters betrokke is by hierdie klas wedstryde, o.a. die Evalueerder wat die skeidsregter dophou. Ek sal graag wil sien wat hierdie man se persentasie was wat hy behaal het.

Hier by ons in die platteland, en indien jy senior 1 liga wil blaas, moet jou evaluasie minstens 80 % wees, en dit sluit nie fiksheidstoetse en aksaminering in nie. Ek kan nie glo dat hy nog die vermetelheid het om te sê hy was reg nie. Help ons almal asb reg, want dit laat by my die indruk ons bestudeer nie dieselfde reëlboek nie. Die reël oor aftrek, of onregverdige spel in die lynstaan is tog baie duidelik omskryf, en moet deur die bank toegepas word. 

Nee wat, hy is my kollega en mede-skeidsregter, maar waragtig, as skeidsregter, is ek bitter teleurgestel in die man. Laat my dink daaraan dat Tappe, so jaar of wat gelede ge"demote" is omdat hy Butch nie afgestuur het nie, wonder wat gaan met Katzenellenbogen gebeur ???????

Das Villoen

Hi Lucas

Hier gaan ons alweer?

Ek kan nie anders as om in 'n groot mate saam te stem met Kys De Wet rakende sy siening op die skeidsregter episode tussen Stormers en Bulle nie. Ek hou skeidsregters darem nou al sedert 1996 fyn dop met die stats wat ek het en glo ek redelik op hoogte is. Dat Katzenellenbogen veel te wense oorgelaat het met sy performance is baie waar. Hy was pateties om die minste te se. 

Daar bestaan by my geen twyfel dat dit sy skuld is dat die Bulle grensloos fustreerd geword het as gevolg daarvan dat Katzenellenbogen die Stormers ontoelaabare spel toegelaat het soos bv. klein Schalk wat op meer as een geleentheid oor die los kom le het en nie te praat van die spel vertraag nie? Katzenellenbogen het hom selfs eenkeer gewaarsku, maar hy was toegelaat om maar voort te gaan daarmee. 

Ja die lynstane was ook 'n totale gemors. Ek gaan dit net daar laat, maar wil graag kortliks die volgende noem.  Rugby liga wat hulle in Australie en New Zealand speel, is ons Rugby Union ligjare voor wanneer dit kom by skeidsregters en reels toepas, ligjare voor. Die gaping is onbeskryflik groot. In rugby liga word beamptes, 
TV refs en refs wat verkeerd reels toepas selfs geskors vir 3 tot 4 wedstryde in sommige gevalle. Daar word dan na elke wedstryd 'n analise gedoen oor hoe 'n game verloop het. Sou dit aan die lig kom iets was verkeerd word die regte mense ingeroep tot verduideliking, maar in ons Rugby Union, wel ten midde daarvan dat Gert Smal 'n video opname na SANZAR se meeting gestuur het waar hulle kapsie gemaak het op Stuart D.ick"head Dic.konson se patetiese behandeling van SA spanne, is 'n blote "ek is jammer" verskoning aanvaar en alles was afgehandel? Dan kom Andre Watson en ken daai drie toe aan die Warathas teen die Bulle en dit nadat die TV opname duidelik wys dat Hougaard eerste die bal gedruk het. Now do I need to say anything more? Ja ek wil "ek is gatvol vir sommige poepholle wat hulself skeidsregters noem? 

In elk geval, enige skeidsregter het die hef in die hand om te blaas soos hy goed dink en niemand kan hom 'n hand ople nie? Voorbeelde, die ingooi was skeef, hulle het vorentoe beweeg, ekstra tyd, late tackle, hoe lank is te lank by release the ball, strafskop stats na 'n game gewoonlik gelykop enigste verskil net die een span se ses strafskoppe was regvoor die oppenente se pale en die ander een sin op sy eie doelllyn ens. Sommige refs bederf games totaal. Die game begin stink.


Hi Lucas

Dit klink asof Kys de Wet net suurdruiwe het. Kys, jou span het verloor, my innige simpatie! My ma se nooiensvan was De Wet. Ek hoop jy is net ver langs familie want ek het genoeg slegte slegte verloorders in my familie. Ek, my vrou, en my broer is genoeg vir enige familie. Ek word ook lekker suur as my span verloor nie en veral wanneer dit lyk asof die ref hulle ingeloop het. Die vrou, die kinders en die hond loop maar lig sulke tye. Ek sal egter nie so ver gaan om my misnoe op "papier" te si t, die ref te blameer en my swak sportmangees aan almal te verkondig nie. Ek ondersteun beide die Stormers en Bulls en het nogal gedink dat die Stormers 'n paar keer die slegte kant van die ref se beslissings gekry het. Ek weet vir 'n feit dat Michael Katzenellenbogen se manier van blaas nie die Stormers en WP span se spelpatroon aanstaan nie, en hy is beslis nie 'n WP fan nie. Ek glo nie dat die ref sal doelbewustelik probeer om 'n span te bevoordeel nie. Onthou dit is sy brood en botter en hy word ge evalueer op die einde van die dag. Enige ref sal foute maak, want hy is menslik en kan nie altyd alles sien nie. 'n Mens kan net hoop dat 'n skeidsregter konsekwent sal blaas en as hy die foute wat hy sal maak op die ou end sal uitbalanseer tussen die 2 spanne. Dit het egter gelyk in die verlede dat die oorsese blasers daarop uit was om ons spannetjies te "nail". Dit lyk egter hierdie jaar asof ons spanne ook deur die oorsese refs meer regverdig behandel word.

Ek is nie 'n geweldige Cat of Shark ondersteuner nie, maar het die Sharks ondersteun laas naweek omdat hulle die beter kans het van die 2 spanne om bo uit te kom. Die ref, Mnr Veldsman en sy 2 kantmanne het die Cats en Juan Smit 2 driee gegee waar daar in albei bewegings 'n ooglopende aanslaan was. By die eerste drie van Juan Smit het Jantjies die bal 'n paar meter van sy doellyn geraak, dit het vorentoe geval end, daarna dit bemeester en uitgegee. By die 2de drie het die bal vorentoe geval, Juan Smit het dit opgepik en die drie gedruk. Swak Mr refs + kantmanne, julle behoort meer wakker te wees en by die bal te wees! Gelukkig het dit nie die eindtelling geaffekteer nie. 

Hierdie naweek speel ons spanne slegs teen oorsese spanne en hopelik kan almal wen.

Marius Stegmann
Stormers + Bulls ondersteuner

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