Editors Note


Volume 4, Week 14

Editors Note

Brilliant!       And then there were four. In what will be remembered as one of the most exciting competitions in ages the final round of matches determined the composition of the semi-finalists in the Super 12. Two sides from Kiwiland, the perennial Aussie team and surprise surprise a Saffie team – heck at this rate we will have the World Cup soccer bid and the Americas Cup sown up in no time! All we need to do is send Madiba and Cha rlize down to Canterbury, throw in Ernie’s head doctor Jos Vanstiphout and the Super 12 is as good as won baby!

In a thrilling final weekend, it was good to watch one of the more traditional clashes in rugby history, New South Wales against Queensland or the Waratahs against Reds as they are now known. The fixture dates back to the 19th century apparently but since nobody’s around anymore from that time most is confined to history books and hearsay. 

It is however the modern history, specifically the Super 12 that is so intriguing to this particular rugby enthusiast. Firstly, the allure of watching 44 Aussies beat the living daylights out of each other is rather satisfying enough (and should be encouraged!) but then so is another ‘favourite’ sport, Aussie Rules where they really get stuck in but I digress… The incredible victory run of the Reds continued and for those ignoramuses out there, the Waratahs have never beaten the Reds in the 9 years of Super 12 history! 

The Waratahs it seemed were stuck in a different time zone (a sight all too familiar for South African supporters) and gone were the vaunted Australian swagger and confidence prevailing in every sportsman from the biggest Island in the world. With the Matt Rogers factor out of the equation the lightblues were shown up by what is historically regarded as the ‘poorer’ rugby cousins. The Reds were not particularly splendid or did not do much more rugby wise but if there is one area they were clear cut winners apart from the scoreboard was their psychological edge. 

How to explain that? Wish we knew the answer as that certitude or belief in history is the ‘mojo’ of a rugby team. The Springboks had it for 80 years (they lost it through isolation), the Kiwis just as long (they lost it through the inability to retain the RWC) and the Australians ‘developed’ it the last two decades (they still have it), England is in possession now (they bought it!) and whatever that ingredient is – its vital in a successful team.

The Stormers are in the semi-finals and to their legions of supporters, all on Valium after another yo-yo season it looks like a mission impossible this weekend against the multi champion Crusaders. The jetlag is a factor – fact. They lost a fortnight ago in humiliating circumstances against the same team with only 14 men – fact. They are without their inspirational captain, Corne Krige – fact. So what are their chances? A famous general in the Great War was sending a situation report to HQ that went something like this, ‘the enemy is on our left flank, right flank and fore! Situation good, we will attack!’ And this should be their attitude: to produce 80 minutes of attacking rugby through guts and determination. Prediction? Stormers to win – there are too many factors against them and they have shown this year that as favourites its far better to fold your note in half and ‘double’ your money than bet on them. As underdogs, heavily so in this case, the old ‘gees’ might surface to suffice.

In the other semifinal, the brilliant Brumbies will have a re-match with the Chiefs. The men from the Australian capital displayed admirable tenacity in what was trench warfare against the Kiwi over achievers. In Canberra, their record is just too good and yes, a knock out is 50-50 but they will not slip up, player power is at stake and these players are out to justify it. So, Brumbies at a canter.

Well there we go, neck is in the noose and little remain but wait and see if the rugby can match that of the Heineken Cup semi finals played a few weeks ago. This supporter, certainly hopes so!

Enjoy the semi’s.



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A Touch of Reality by Desmond Organ
Brian van “Ruin” and the rest of his hapless helpers at SARFU received two slaps in the face in the space of a week. The first was courtesy of a wise young man currently plying his trade in Australia and the other was from the cartel attempting to establish a new club team in England. It is not at all surprising that the President of SARFU has stated his intention to stop the initiative from several businessmen and has been threatening to call on his incompetent cronies in government.

Any South African who has the skills, ability and opportunity to ply his trade overseas would be stupid not to take full advantage of any opportunity that comes his way. When faced with affirmative action, incompetence and basic stupidity it is not a difficult choice. Clyde Rathbone might not be the most popular young man in South Africa, but then again there are many of us that have moved away from the land of limited opportunity that is supporting him all the way. Once you leave the testosterone out of the argument, there is no amount of loyalty and patriotism that can compensate for increased opportunities and wealth. 

Why should young people like Rathbone and Skinstad and several others pay the price for the sins of former generations and why should they put up with the incompetence that has raised its head in the form of unfair quotas and restrictions on applying your god given ability. The fact that there was discrimination in the past is not a reason to deny people an opportunity on the basis of colour. It makes me almost sick to the stomach to think that we have idiots like Songezo Nayo who state that there is not a quota system in place for the national team. The fact that it is not written in the law books does not mean that there is not an active agenda to make sure that it does in fact take place.

There have been countless selections in the last several years that have the quota system screaming loud and clear in the minds of the public at large. It takes people like Chester Williams and Rathbone to show up the system. There will always be accusations of personal interest at stake and if Rathbone and Williams had not used their situation to better themselves in contractual negotiations then the same people that criticize them would be calling them naïve. It is a national honour to represent your country, of that there can be no doubt, however it is also a god given right to exercise your talents to the best of your ability. The restrictions that face young South Africans can not easily be overcome and when opportunities present themselves they should be used for the benefit of the individual.

It is my humble opinion that Mr. van Rooyen is about to get a big fat surprise from the businessman that are attempting to set up a “South African” club in the UK. They have the money and they are going to set it up. The British government is not going to be persuaded to stop it from happening and I doubt if the RFU will either. The reality is that if a Russian businessman can buy a soccer establishment then a group of businessman with South African connections can buy a rugby team and staff it with as many players from South Africa as they deem necessary. Wake up and smell the roses Brian, you cannot stop a player who chooses to play overseas from doing exactly that. You can threaten to ban them from playing for South Africa and all that will do is create another group of Rathbones that will always choose the personal option rather than the national one.

It is a sad state of affairs when leaders resort to tacit racial threats to firm up their positions of power. The young people of South Africa deserve an equal opportunity to ply their trade in both the local and the international arena. Any attempt to stop them from doing so is naïve and will only serve to create further divisions in a society which has been struggling to get rid of them.

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Semi-finalists founded at the last minute by Vinesh Naicker
The four Super 12 finalists have been founded at last, although it was not until the very last game that the fourth finalist, and the final place settings for the third and fourth semi-finalists, was known.

I went and saw the Chiefs versus the Brumbies game, and it was obvious from the beginning that the main aim for the Chiefs was to restrict the number of points that the Brumbies were going to get. All they needed was a bonus point and this is all that they aimed for. They didn’t manage to step up the 10% to 15% in intensity that their coach had asked for, with the usual sort of errors that we have come to expect from them quite prevalent. By this I mean the two knock-ons a game that Sione Lauaki tends to have, in the midst of his barnstorming runs, and the two kicks that Glen Jackson normally makes that fail to find touch.

With Byron Kelleher and Keith Lowen out with injuries, the Chiefs really lacked strike power in the backs. I believe that the best approach would have been to keep the game tight and play it within the forwards as much as possible. The performance of the forwards this season has been the point of differentiation for the Chiefs and the major contributor to their success. For some reason they chose not to play this type of game, perhaps coach Ian Foster did not want to show his hand too early in c ase his team had to play the Brumbies again, as they are now destined to do.

The one outstanding feature of the Australian teams, that no one can deny, is that they usually play the big games more intelligently then the South Africans or the New Zealanders. It is, therefore, my belief, that the Brumbies are more likely to improve over the next week than the Chiefs, unless they make the mistake of underestimating the resolve that this Chiefs team will bring to the game. However with the return of their halfback and preferred centre this Chiefs team could be a whole new prop osition to the one that played last weekend.

Although I would like to see the Chiefs go over to Canberra and beat the Brumbies, my head is telling me that it won’t happen. Needless to say, however, my head has been mostly wrong about the Chiefs this season.

The Crusaders loss to the Hurricanes was a surprise for most people, although historically the Crusaders have not done well against the Hurricanes in Wellington. As Tana Umaga said to the fans after the game, they are a very difficult team to support.

The Blues managed to put away the Highlanders quite convincingly and so managed to keep alive their hopes of still making the semi-finals. They were however reliant on the results from the Waratahs and the Stormers. The Waratahs, as they have managed to do throughout the history of the Super 12, choked against the Reds and didn’t come anywhere near scoring the four tries that they required to secure a place in the semi-finals.

I was convinced that the travel factor would be a huge one against the Stormers. Combine this with the fact that the Sharks had lost their three previous home games, and would be undoubtedly hurting, had me thinking that the Sharks would win narrowly against the Stormers.

The Sharks started off well but after the loss of Butch James they seemed to lose quite a bit of their spark. With no specialist fly-half on the reserve bench Brent Russell was forced to move to fly-half from fullback. Although he played most of his amateur games at fly-half, it has been a few seasons since he has played in that position and he was not able to have the same impact on the game as he has done from fullback. Although the Stormers did take a reasonable lead in the second half the Sh arks were able to come back, and it was only the last try by Schalk Burger that sealed the game for the Stormers and confirmed their place in the semi-finals.

They now have to travel back to Christchurch to play the Crusaders, and once more, due to the travel factor, the odds have got to be stacked against them. I’ve seen people commenting on how unfair this is to them, however, they did have the opportunity to beat the Crusaders and secure a home semi-final last week. Their failure to take their opportunities against a team that played with fourteen men for the majority of the game has cost them dearly. If they had won that game the Crusaders would n ow be travelling to Cape Town to play them there.

The race for the semi-finals was a tight one but I think the winners of the semi-final rounds themselves are a lot clearer cut. My pick for the final, the Crusaders and the Brumbies to battle it out once again in Canberra

Team of the Week
2003 2004
Position Name Team Position Name Team
15 Tod Miller Brumbies 15 Miils Muliaina Blues
14 Doug Howlett Blues 14 Doug Howlett Blues
13 Grant Esterhuizen Stormers 13 Tana Umaga Hurricanes
12 Matt Giteau Brumbies 12 Matt Giteau Brumbies
11 Lote Tuqiri Waratahs 11 Rico Gear Blues
10 Carlos Spencer Blues 10 Stephen Larkham Brumbies
9 Justin Marshall Crusaders 9 Fourie Du Preez Bulls
8 Juan Smith Cats 8 Xavier Rush Blues
7 Wikus van Heerden Bulls 7 Schalk Burger Stormers
6 George Smith Brumbies 6 Owen Finnegan Brumbies
5 Daniel Vickerman Brumbies 5 Gerrie Britz Cats
4 Ali Williams Blues 4 Jono Gibbes Chiefs
3 Kees Meeuws Blues 3 Kees Meeuws Blues
2 Anton Oliver Highlanders 2 Peter Dixon Stormers
1 Matt Dunning Waratahs 1 Os Du Randt Cats

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You can't have enough players of his (Jaco van der Westhuyzen) quality. They don't come around that often. Leicester Chief executive Peter Wheeler 

We've got to make sure that what we did in the World Cup we build on, and our challenge has got to be to play well every game.       Eddie Jones

In terms of the 2007 World Cup there's definitely two two-year cycles between World Cups ... and these next two years are about picking your best players and about playing consistently high-level rugby.       Eddie Jones

There's a lot of respect for England here. It's 50-50 whether they or the All Blacks will win.       Grant Fox

At central control is the greatest pairing of halves in recent rugby history - the incomparable George Gregan and Larkham.        Chris Rattue

The All Blacks are blessed with lots of talent, but not experience, and that is the key ingredient that wins you games and allows you to handle the pressure.     Jonah Lomu

Well, call me stupid, but I'll never succumb to even thinking about NSW beating Queensland, they could play this one with a leg chopped off and still win. Never underestimate a Queenslander, especially a wounded one and this, for them, is the biggest game of the year.       Sam Scott-Young 

Don't be too worried - this English side that comes out here [New Zealand] this year won't be that great.   John Mitchell

Carlos is a wonderful talent but he has shown at the highest level a tendency to premeditate his attack and I don't think you could train that out of him.       John Mitchell

The underachievers tag that NSW were so desperate to shed is stuck with us yet again. I can't begin to tell you how angry and upset that makes me feel on behalf of all the boys. There is no worse tag to be stuck with than that of underachievers.      Matt Rogers

In the four years I've been involved in South African rugby, there hasn't been a quota system for the Boks. We definitely believe in transformation, but there are enough black players who can be chosen on merit - quotas are not necessary.     Songezo Nayo, MD of SA Rugby

The only team capable of halting the Brumbies' drive for a second Super 12 title would appear to be the Brumbies themselves.      Wayne Smith

I am gutted for the kid ... he has been outstanding for the Sharks this year.       Kevin Putt on Butch James' season ending injury

I always will have strong ties to South Africa but my future is in Australia, I love living in Australia. The combination of great rugby and lifestyle is hard to beat.        Clyde Rathbone

Scoring more air points than your opponent is not a recommended way of winning a semifinal.    Wynne Gray on the Stormers traveling problem

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Letters to the Editor
Hi Lucas

Brilliant, so far things are going according to plan, I do not want to count my chickens before they hatch, but what an interesting and entertaining Super 12 this year. With all the moans and groans I must be positive and say that the SA sides especially the Sharks, have played much better this year. With regards to the chickens during the course of the Super 12, I received some generous odds on Brumbies and Crusaders (4/1) to win the Super 12, well so far I am having a good run with my money I have on them.

Regarding your Springbok selections, yes I understand that in SA case seldom are matches close never mind receiving penalties in the opposition half but it amazes me how in your selections there is no backup reliable goalkickers. If you take last year's world cup final not to mention NZ leaving Mehrtens out plus the 1995 world cup final not to mention test matches between the top teams in general, you must have a prolific goalkicker, plus a backup on or off the field. Carlos Spencer a great runner of the ball, who when don on the All Black jersey during the Tri-Nations match against SA showed us how important it is to have a great goalkicker. Sorry chaps until the rules of rugger changes where you get zero points for kicking, YOU NEED A GOALKICKER (even if it is a hooker). 

Kind regards


Hi Lucas

The English language do not have good enough words to describe the dismal performances by South African rugby players in latter half of this year’s Super 12. The Stormers had almost 80 minutes of brilliance against the Blues in Auckland, but then Cinderella turned back into a pumpkin. Maybe it helped against the Blues that they played without the two albatrosses (Rossouw brothers) around their necks. 

The extremely poor tackles that Chris Rossouw, DeWet Barry and another Stormer tried on Dan Carter last week, as he slipped through and accepted the gift of a try, epitomises to me the spirit of SA players in general..... gutless, lack of skills and no commitment !

Returning to Pieter Rossouw.... there is a saying in Afrikaans : “ Moenie dat hy lei nie...skiet hom !” I am not asking for any disgruntled Stormer supporter to start polishing the old .303... it’s meant purely figuratively for the Stormer selection team, to finally accept that this man is well beyond his use-by date...in fact he has been for a few winters now. Yes, he is dangerous, but these days more so to his own team. To harp on about his experience, means as much as a set of teats will be of adv antage to a bull. Why not call up Mannetjies Roux, John Gainsford or Frik du Preez for that matter. At least you will get dedication, intelligence and guts as well.

Are South African top coaches (Super 12) blind, pig-headed or living on another planet. SA rugby players stand out in the following deficiencies :

a. Basic ball handling & retention skills.
b. Understanding of the rules, especially around rucks & mauls.
c. Running lines.
d. Tactical kicking.
e. Goalkicking.

Can no South African coach recognise this ? In the unlikely event that they do, do they themselves perhaps not have the skills to address this ? It’s pointless for them to say it’s not their job to teach basics. They probably are right, but if what you have can’t do the basics right, that unfortunately is where you need to start. I become more relieved by the day that none of Gert Smal, Rudi Joubert, Kevin Putt or Chester got the Bok coaching job. One can therefore still hope for a Bok revival....at this stage anyway.

A few individual players showed moments of brilliance and purpose. It would be great to see the likes of Henno Menz, Tonderai Chavanga, Marius Joubert, Adri Badenhorst, Bakkies Botha, Wikus van Heerden, Joe van Heerden and Gerrie Britz (add Victor Matfield minus his fancy hairy-fairy passing) in one team under a skillful coach. Thereby lies the Bok revival hopes. 

Jakes Jacobson

Hi Lucas

Only one question Lucas...

How can you guys suggest Breyton Paulse after his display last week - the thing that made him pickable as a tiny guy was his ability to be there, be quick and finish! Last weekend, he was there, was caught up by his opposite number despite a 10 metre start and rather than head for the line from 5 metres out, he decided to stop!!! He's lost the edge he had - picking him now would be picking a filler!!

Henno Mentz gets my vote.


Duncan Turner

Hi Lucas

Desmond Organ? Percy Montgommery? I'm lost for words...

Kind regards
Charles Knight

Hi Lucas

The interview that Boots + All had with Ben Darwin was really interesting. He said that with the Brumbies it is not about winning but improving as a player and a team. I think that we, the Springboks are so obsessed with winning that we froze in the big moments.

Good luck to the Stormers.

Marius Stegmann

Hi Lucas

My Bokspan :

15.Percy Montgomery
14.Ashwin Willemse
13.Marius Joubert
12.De Wet Barry
11.Henno Mentz
10.Jaco van der Westhuysen
9.Craig Davidson
8.Adri Badenhorst
7.Schalk Burger
6.Luke Watson
5.Selborne Boome
4.Bakkies Botha
3.Eddie Andrews
2.John Smit (c)
1.Daan Human
22.Jaque Fourie
21.Butch James
20.Bolla Conradie
19.Juan Smith
18.Victor Matfield
17.BJ Botha
16.Peter Dixon

Johann Loubser

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