Editors Note


Volume 4, Week 12

Editors Note

Brilliant!       Bang!! A big bubble burst this past weekend and there are more embarrassed players than Enrique Iglesias groupies. The Super 12 produced arguably its worst hour ever and this was mostly thanks to the efforts (meant in the most facetious way possible!) of the Stormers, Sharks, Reds and Bulls.

After some excellent performances from their teams, the average South African supporter thought that this was it… basics like catching, passing and kicking were mastered, there were some resemblances of a gameplan and there were victories, on the road nogal. WRONG! Week 10 was probably the worst in a long line of utter tripe performances dating back 8 years this armchair critic has witnessed from South African teams! Very few of the Stormers, Sharks and Bulls deserve match fees for such shocking play. The question must be asked, were we the public lulled into such a false sense of security that we actually believed and trusted that the corner was turned?

Where to begin… the Stormers, we all know plays on and off but their performance against the Chiefs will easily be forgotten as their worst. And to top it all, a respected captain and player vindicated the English beliefs of Twickenham 2002 – having been there that fateful day, there was very little evidence of Krige’s forays into the pugilistic underworld of international rugby, this time it was clear for all to see however he did not bother with the Marquis of Queensberry’s rules! Shame on you Co rné! Yes, things do happen in the heat of battle and frustrations creep in but you should rather have thanked that particular offender for withholding the ball from another backline booboo. The legacy left is tarnished.

       Bye bye semi finals bye bye
       Krige used his head and the victories ran dry
       good old boys will be downing their whiskey and cry
       this will be the end of captain courageous' ply 

       (Sung to the tune of American Pie)

The Sharks and Reds affair was probably the worst game in Super 12 history – the score was the lowest and the skills (an insult to the word) were deplorable. The match probably set the new world record for the most knock-ons in 80 minutes and if the Sharks administration had any sense they would have offered refunds to the supporters. This is the Sharks second useless display in succession and one wonders what happened to the organized, gutsy team from Australasia? Please Kevin, fly over and bring them back because you were given clones at the airport. Ah, a conspiracy theory…

The Bulls contrived to follow all the other teams in playing pitiable football, was there indeed a conspiracy between all the teams for the weekend? SARFU made it clear that the teams should work closely together and with the good performances of the past weeks, the cry came up for all to follow suit hence the litany of errors. Aaaargh! How frustrating was that!

Readers, you all are aware of the usual positive trend emanating from this keyboard and there has been good reason over the past two months to be positive however allow this moment of frustration to erupt! Losing is not the root of the annoyance, but the method in which the teams contrived to do so. How the blazes can one play such crap rugby in a week’s time? It is way beyond this simple mind. Nuff said!

There was some enjoyable rugby over the weekend and it came in the form of the Heineken Cup semi-finals – what glorious displays of rugby football! As a bit of a ‘Southern Hemisphere is superior snob’ this armchair critic almost fell off his armchair! The rugby was of magnificent quality, there was hardly any kicking, the defence was absolutely rock hard and the tries came from good turnovers and some well constructed moves. Sorry people but if that is their standard of club rugby we here in the SH will sucking the proverbial hind *** for a number of years to come. We in the SH need to wake up and smell the roses (no pun intended), England are the World Champions and the Irish is one above SA in the world rankings, that Munster team will beat the stuffing out of anything we have to offer in South Africa, especially after the past weekends results.

Apologies for not discussing Springbok hopefuls this week however one could hardly make any judgment after such a black weekend for SA rugby. True, a team is selected over a few months of performance and there has been some excellent ones so with the weekend being the final matches against foreign opposition, it is probably a better barometer to adjudge final aspirations for the national team. Adjourn to next week.

Good luck to all the Sharks supporters willing to go out to Kings Park… to all the Stormers’ supporters - WP Cellars have some great specials on at the moment… the Bulls – Willem will make a difference and maybe your mascot Rian did make the difference… Cats - well done Chester, at least your team is trying to play rugby… psssst some advice though a match is 80 minutes, try it… play for both halves and you will win your second game of the year!

That’s it, spent.



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Mindless Acts by Desmond Organ
What a weekend to witness the fall from grace of not only a double semi final berth; but also two of our more recognised players. That these same two players have been in hot water before should send a loud warning to the national selectors and coach. Okay so Corne has retired and we are left to ponder the cost of potentially losing Venter for the Tests against Ireland.

There is a far bigger issue at hand here and that is the need for SA Rugby to permanently shed itself of its bad boy character. It is bad enough that we have to witness a fall from grace in the rankings, now we are fast becoming the measure of dirty play. There might just be a touch of overreaction on my part, but then again let’s just look at the effect it has had on our already tarnished reputation. We are far from being the only dirty ones out there and there is nothing wrong with hard rugby. Ho wever, the key issue is hard rugby and not dirty rugby.

There are bound to be endless lists of excuses and explanations ranging from the stress the players suffer from in South Africa as a result of the mismanagement of the game by higher authorities. There can be no doubt that there is a lack of player representation in South Africa and there is also a lot of stress related to contracts, quotas etc. This can never be considered as a reason for unacceptable acts of barbarism. Venter has been in the dock before and so has Krige. This leads me to believe that they are not just hard rugby players, they are also dirty.

The national coach may well still call on the services of Venter before the end of the year and this might be justified by the need for an aggressive approach to the game. If he does so, he has got to make absolutely sure that any form of indiscipline is strictly managed. Rugby is a physical game and actions above aggression in the form of questionable tactics do abound from time to time. The frequency of acts though is always a bearing of how dirty a player is. It is almost cynical that Martin Joh nson who has more than a fare share of acts of thuggery will always be remembered for his leadership whereas Corne Krige will be remembered for the Battle of Twickenham, Camp Staaldraad and his actions in his final Super 12 game.

Jake White has a huge job on his hands and the most important aspect might be the restoring of Springbok pride. The need to win matches is almost not as important as the issue of national pride. Winning matches will help in this endeavour but there is a far greater need and that is the confidence of the public in the brand which is the Springboks. I say this because it is the overall image of the national team that sells tickets, merchandise and advertising. Without the necessary image the Springbo k brand will continue its fall from grace and what a story that would make. Firstly racism in rugby followed by the capitulation of the image of the national team in the democratic era. 

The marketing genius that was Bok Town has got to be re-directed in the direction of saving the image of the national team. Jake White will do his level best to get the required results; despite the limitations that have already been imposed on him in terms of selection authority and team composition. Now it is up to the rest of the brains trust to do something about the broader image of the game in South Africa and the image of the national team overseas. There can be little doubt that the Austral ians and the English have little interest in restoring the image of the Springboks internationally. They clearly not only want to win every match against us; they also want to gain a greater share of the marketing revenue that is part of the international game.

The weeks ahead will be critical as far as the psyche surrounding our rugby is concerned. Further performances in the mould of the Sharks vs. Queensland clash will not only lead to additional booing, it will also lead to fewer tickets being sold for the remainder of the season. The Stormers and the Sharks have got to get the already damaged ship back on course and to do this they have to play their hearts out and show the South African public that Jake White will be able to turn on the magic. 

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Obviously we are expecting a tough game and I know it will take 80 minutes of quality rugby, but I have faith in their abilities. We have prepared for a massive game and are very focused.     Gert Smal, pre Chiefs match

It was a great scrap for us we were a bit hungrier. We respected possession and tried not to give too much ball away.    Jonno Gibbes

There is a history in recent years for the Sharks, after a loss, when they get a bit of a smack, to go into a bit of a downward spiral.     Kevin Putt

I think the best test will come this week. We've had a loss, even though we haven't played too much different to any other week. It's now a matter of checking that the mentality and desire stays completely in place and then make sure that it manifests itself on the playing field.     Kevin Putt

I don't know how my Japanese is going - I haven't mastered English yet!      Toutai Kefu

My birthday was actually quite good this year because the news [of Nucifora's sacking] came through about the same time.      Justin Harrison

I didn’t think Munster always had the best players, but when they put that jersey on and played at home, they seemed to grow a few inches, put on a few pounds. It’s a quality you can’t buy — it makes them special.   Warren Gatland

I am gutted. I cannot believe what went on here today. I do not believe I was guilty of any malicious behaviour. AJ Venter

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Letters to the Editor
Hi Lucas

Tuck in your jersey! 

I am watching the Bulls play the Crusaders on Saturday 24 April 2004.At this stage there are two reasons why the Bulls are trailing 18-33 (although both teams have scored 3 tries). Firstly the goal kicking of the Bulls are letting them down tremendously. The second reason may seem petty , but it has played a role in two consecutive moves of the Bulls. The Bulls do not tuck their jerseys into their pants! In the first move the Bulls player would surely have scored if a Crusader weren't hanging onto his jersey. In the second move Wim de Waal did score , but again he had a Crusader hanging onto his tail. This is a lack of attention to detail which is costing the team dearly.

Charl Grobbelaar

Hi Lucas

Regarding your invitation to readers to "vote" for their Springbok team, here's mine:

15 Breyton Paulse
14 Ashwin Willemse
13 Marius Joubert
12 De Wet Barry
11 Henno Mentz
10 Jaco van der Westhuyzen
9 Fourie du Preez
8 Joe van Niekerk
7 Juan Smith
6 Schalk Burger
5 Victor Matfield (c)
4 Bakkies Botha
3 Eddie Andrews
2 Pieter Dixon
1 Daan Human

Guthro Steenkamp
John Smit
AJ Venter
Jacques Cronjé
Ricky Januarie
Ettienne Botha
Brent Russell

Hi Lucas

In ligter luim 

Dis nie grappies om een oomblik te wil uitskreeu " Chev is terug!, ons rugby is terug! bring die braaivleis dat ons die son kan geniet nie" , om dan net die volgende week verleë te mompel, "die dinges met rugby, met Chev en bêre die vleis, dis buitendien bewolk".

Foeitog, om dan nie eens te praat van die absolute kop-dwaasheid van twee van ons "manne" nie. Ek wou al lankal sê daar is dalk fout met ons spelers se kopwerk, of is dit die werking van hul koppe. Ek verkies nog altyd 'n man wat dink op die veld, eerder as een wat met sy kop speel. Die resultate bewys dit, die denkendes staan kop en skouers uit bo die res, dis nooit 'n kop aan kop stryd nie, hulle seëvier gewoonlik sonder uitsondering. Dié twee manne se dinge het nou sekerlik lelike kopsorge vir hul breiers en spanmaats veroorsaak.

Op 'n meer ernstige noot, vertrou ek en hou styf duim vas dat ons spanne hierdie naweek 'n hasie of twee uit die hoed gaan trek. Sterkte aan almal wat die moed het om te kyk.

Koos Carelse

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