Editors Note


Volume 4, Week 15

Editors Note

Brilliant!       After a miraculous recovery from a severe 'neck in the noose' injury it is the opportune moment to congratulate the two finalists in this year’s Super 12 competition. And in case you happened to be holidaying in Casablanca and not heard the news yet, it is the Brumbies against the Crusaders for the umpteenth time. Other news to make more noise than the zillions of vuvuzela’s when Sepp Blatter finally ran out of steam and produced the envelope is Jake White’s first Springbok squad.

One of the biggest contributing factors to the Stormers’ demise was one of the 'senior statesmen' of New Zealand rugby, Justin Marshall. The stocky scrumhalf produced an inspiring display of experience, grit and determination to rally his troops to victory and more often than not he was seen doing the talking and encouraging during breaks. As a player he has his deficiencies like a weak pass, so so kicking game and slow clearance behind the scrum but on this occasion little mattered as he was able to rouse his team in the face of a strong onslaught and win the game when it mattered, the final 20 minutes.

The Stormers played excellent rugby and produced a valiant display on Saturday however their challenge was thwarted by their inexperience, that cost them vital points and ultimate victory. The many fruitless struggles for a few yards around the scrum resulted in isolation, which in turn created turnovers or penalties. The Stormers also failed to capitalize on the great amount of turnovers they won through the hard work of Hendrik Gerber and Schalk Burger. De Wet Barry made excellent yards and had s ome wonderful breaks however why not pass when through the first gap? The supporting players did not run themselves into the kind of scoring positions like a Doug Howlett does so well, these things come with time and experience i.e. how to time the run and see the 'gaps'. There was a time Breyton Paulse was absolutely brilliant at it.

Make no mistake this criticism in not meant as scathing but rather constructive and positive because they were so close and they played so well and they were almost there!

A lesson learnt from this match and the season is that the modern game affords few players the luxury of a clean breakaway, especially around the fringes and if you isolate yourself from support, the retribution is as swift as a Tahr on Table Mountain. This is one of South African rugby’s inherent flaws, the pick and drive has served us well over the years and we are good at it, bashing away at the fringes making a couple of yards. But how easy is it to defend against? Very easy, there is little sp ace to build up enough speed to get go-forward, very few players have a good leg drive and there is this propensity to go to ground and force the scrum. It takes one second of isolation from an unsynchronised break and some loosie puts his grubby hands on the ball and the ref will penalise for holding on. 

The Brumbies on the other hand play the game, where possible, away from the first contact point by using runners from depth who attack the space between defenders. Many have imitated this however they lack the unsurpassed handling skills and a brilliant distributor at scrumhalf. 

The table topping Aussies did it again in brutal fashion, the first 10 minutes was some of the most clinical, physical, sustained brilliance seen this whole year. It was men against boys and the match was effectively over after this magnificent opening blitzkrieg. The rest of the match was a bit of a coast and clearly they were geared down to do only what was necessary to get to the final. And deservedly so. How about the big Fijian’s try? It was a fantastic burst of speed and poor Byron Kelleher w as left for dust!

The final will be an uncompromising affair between contrasting styles, the Crusaders have had the measure over their great foes the last few years by using simple tactics. They minimize mistakes, concede no turnovers (they will have to work on this as the Stormers won the turnovers but lacked the exploitation) and drive their pack through the so-called middle of the Brumbies league style defence. 

The Brumbies will use big Owen Finnegan to counter, he played a tremendous role in Saturday’s semi and will do so again in disrupting opposition drives and mauls. The idea is to divide and conquer, Owen is the destroyer and as soon as he disrupts, Smith picks on the pieces like a vulture. Add to that a backline of extraordinary skill and the turnovers are manufactured into tries. This team is as patient and effective as a production line with Larkham the conductor of the rhythm.

Who will win? Brumbies with less than 10 points.

The selectors and Jake White came up with quite an interesting Springbok 22 on Sunday, the squad has been discussed ad nauseam and everyone now knows who was lucky/unlucky blah blah blah. Is it a good team? Don’t know yet. Is it a bad team, we don’t know yet. The first time one would be able to judge the team is after the 12 of June. Of the individuals, Jake White promised a merit selection but he cleverly did not state (or did he?) on what merit, certainly it was not based on this Super 12 campaig n. He kept quite a few of the World Cup players (those who performed well) which is a good sign, continuity has been his key promise and he introduced a few of his own selections, mostly players he has worked with in the past. At the end of the day, few will begrudge his selections should they trounce the Irish and there lies the key of the average SA fan. Win and they are happy. The Wallabies and Kiwis will be a different prospect!

This supporter will certainly be there at Bloemfontein supporting the Springboks but for the immediate future, Brumbies on Saturday and Toulouse on Sunday. Have a great weekend of finals!



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We Love Complaining by Desmond Organ
Seasons come and go, but one thing will never change and that is the perennial ability of South African supporters to bitch and moan about the make up of the first squad of the season. There can be very little doubt that based on the performances of the last few years there is every reason to be a little skeptical. 
This is however a new period in which a new coach has got to be given a chance to stake his claim to continuity. Jake White must know that he is unlikely to be given the same window of opportunity were he the national coach of any other country.

Despite the fact that there were a couple of bolters in the squad of 22, there is enough reason for optimism. Not only did the public receive countless clues in the run up to the announcement; they were all but told about several selections through the ranting and raving of Mr. Nayo. The very day that I read about Nayo claiming that there were no quotas and that if Shimange made the team it was on merit, I knew immediately that his name would be read out several days later. We have to forgive the C EO for his moment of emotion and perhaps accept that he is not the “brightest” man on the planet. Then again he might just have made the announcement to prepare the audience for what was coming.

I believe that we should give Nayo the benefit of the doubt and assume that he was preparing the ground for the announcement. The balance of the team pretty much chose themselves if we read what Jake White had to say earlier in the season. Many people forget that Ireland is supposedly weaker at tighthead and that Os Du Randt managed to prepare Richard Bands for his trip to the World Cup. Christo Bezuidenhout is one of the unlucky ones, but then again he is getting on and he did spend some time chew ing grass in the quarter finals at the World Cup.

Wayne Julies was placed on a conditioning programme earlier in the season and as soon as Chester Williams took over at the Cats he was in the starting 15. The same can be said for a player like Shimange who clearly has talent, but is now potentially the vistim of unnecessary criticism. Let us not forget that the coach had already selected his captain and that all but removed others from the equation. There is no doubt in my mind that Shimange will benefit from the opportunity and nobody has said th at he will start the game against Ireland. 

Craig Davidson has had his say and I am not going to harp on about it, there is no doubt in my mind that he is not the same quality of player as Fourie Du Preez and Neil De Kock. A scrumhalf needs to have a fast and efficient passing capability. Too many times we are lulled into believing that a scrumhalf needs to be all brute strength. Bolla Conradie has played test matches just like Davidson and he has performed as well if not better. I would go as far as saying that youth might be the real reaso n for his inclusion and let’s face it, if you are dealing with transformation it is a lot better to start with younger players than older ones.

The locks that were selected did not surprise me at all; this is simply because the best two should start the game. If we are forced into a situation where this is not the case then there might be room for a look at the whole transformation argument. Eddie Andrews has had a fantastic Super 12 and if anybody doubts it then they should watch the games again. I for one would far rather have him in the team than an unfit Richard Bands or Lawrence Sephaka. The inclusion of Faan Rautenbach is a little su rprising, but then again he is rumoured to have one of the best techniques in the country and White rates him. Joe van Niekerk is a gamble and only time will tell if this was a wise move so early in the season. I was surprised by Wannenberg as a number 8, but I do remember him as one of the only players to return from the nightmare tour to the Northern hemisphere with his reputation intact.

The fact of the matter is that there will always be debate from the armchair critics and this is what makes the game so interesting. We in South Africa are also blessed with the endless drivel that comes from the mouths of the politicians and the administrators and this seems to consume most of our armchair habits. I hope that a combination of youth, potential and ability will lead to a more consistent selection policy and a better national team.

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The Super 12 is down to the business end! by Dingo Marshall
The Super 12 has one more week to go and then as Chris Handy would so enthusiastically say, it is ‘OVER!’ The Brumbies and the Crusaders both deserve to be finalists and the Brumbies have certainly earned their right to host the Final. It is the Brumbies 5th final appearance in 9 years and they dearly would like to double their Super 12 titles. The injury to Stirling Mortlock is a big blow to the team and an even bigger blow to Captain Insanity on a personal level, but they are such a professional outfit that his replacement knows exactly what is expected of him. It should be a cracker of a game, a worthy finale to a very memorable season.

The Stormers put up a very courageous performance last week in Christchurch before succumbing to the professionalism of the Crusaders who soaked up the pressure thrown at them and then put points on the board when they had to. I bumped into Carel du Plessis (surprisingly fresh after his long haul from the land of the long white cloud) at Jo’Burg airport on Sunday evening. His view on proceedings was that a couple of lucky breaks went the way of the Crusaders. When asked about the effects of jet lag on the team Carel replied ‘it wasn’t as much of a factor as we thought it would be.’ The Stormers will be a force to be reckoned with in next year’s tournament.

In the other semi final the Brumbies had too much in reserve for the gutsy and tenacious Chiefs. The Brumbies never let the Chiefs into the game and Clyde Rathbone reiterated how much his presence is going to be missed in Springbok colours with another fabulous performance. The commentators have certainly taken to him by referring to him as ‘Aussie Clyde’ when he scored the final try to wrap up proceedings.

I await Saturday’s kick off with baited breath.

Team of the Week




Name Team Position Name Team
15 Leon McDonald Crusaders 15 Joe Roff Brumbies
14 Doug Howlett Blues 14 Clyde Rathbone Brumbies
13 Tana Umaga Hurricanes 13 Marius Joubert Stormers
12 Sam Tuitopou Blues 12 Dan Carter Crusaders
11 Rico Gear Blues 11 Mark Gerrard Brumbies
10 Daniel Carter Crusaders 10 Stephen Larkham Brumbies
9 Justin Marshall Crusaders 9 Justin Marshall Crusaders
8 Scott Robertson Crusaders 8 Adri Badenhorst Stormers
7 Jerry Collins Hurricanes 7 Schalk Burger Stormers
6 Richie McCaw Crusaders 6 Richie McCaw Crusaders
5 Chris Jack Crusaders 5 Radike Samo Brumbies
4 Paul Tito Hurricanes 4 Jono Gibbes Chiefs
3 Greg Somerville Crusaders 3 Greg Somerville Crusaders
2 Kevin Meealamu Blues 2 Jeremy Paul Brumbies
1 Dave Hewett Crusaders 1 Daan Human Stormers


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It's about his record. Just look at what he has achieved - a grand slam, a World Cup, his country's greatest points-scorer. The man is different class. He is a unique human being, absolutely unique. In world rugby today there is Wilko, there are a few more below him a bit, and then there are the rest.    Brian O'Driscoll

I'm now coming to the realisation that I won't be playing rugby in Australia next year and, sure, that's very disappointing.      Matt Burke

The Zurich Premiership is seen, accurately, as the most fierce rugby competition in the world. There are 22 lung-bursting games and rarely a soft one.     Stephen Jones

I didn't get the best co-operation from the Super 12 coaches, because when I was appointed in March, they were already immersed in the series.       Jake White

I'm convinced that I've grown as a player. It was an adventure and I learnt a lot. I will recommend it to any player who wants to broaden his rugby horizon.    Jaco van der Westhuyzen 

I've watched Super 12 this year and have been disappointed, everyone is picking and going from stationary ball and they're getting absolutely nowhere. It's really boring rugby. Over here we've got forwards who are actually running on to the ball. The collisions are a lot harder and it's a more flowing game.     Craig Dowd

Everyone in rugby looks at New Zealand and learns from them, whereas we tend not to look anywhere else and learn from them. It's quite backward thinking.       Craig Dowd

Matt Dawson seems more interested in his burgeoning media career than his rugby - he's like Anna Kournikova without the looks.     Andy Jackson

Jake and I had an incident when he was assistant coach but I don't want to go into details. Since then he has bad-mouthed me over the years. I had hoped to see some maturity and a change over the years. Unfortunately leopards don't change their spots.        Craig Davidson

I know I will be spoiling my future opportunities, but I believe I need to speak out in the best interests of South African rugby.       Craig Davidson

Join the SARUGBY news and discussion group for the fastest sarugby news and the most intense debates around the South African game. Send a blank email to sarugby-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Letters to the Editor
Hi Lucas

This is the first time I have responded to Rugby Forum this season and would like to echo the truthful sentiments mentioned by Desmond Organ's well written column 'A Touch of Reality'. 

His column spells out nothing but the truth and reality of SA Rugby and even extends beyond the borders of SA Rugby into other sports and into business in this country. 

The recent headline 'Rathbone Snubs SA', is yet written by one off those people who thinks that just because you have been born and lived in a country for most of your living years, that you are automatically suppose to be fully loyal and patriotic to that country. Unfortunately the reality is if the country is so obsessed with racism, affirmative action, quota systems and placing incompetent people into positions of authority and power which stifles and limits the growth and potential of others, the n those persons have no choice but to look for greener pastures and all the very best to them.

During the World Cup last year I was invited away by a company for the weekend to a game lodge. That same weekend the Boks played the All Blacks and naturally there was a big screen for all the delegates to watch the game. When I walked into the room with my All Black jersey and cap, I was as welcome as a pork sausage in a synagogue. During the game some of the Bok supporters left the room which I thought at the time was due to the Boks poor performance, only to find out later they could not take thi s South African cheering for the All Blacks every time they put points on the board. They could not understand how this South African could not be supporting South Africa and where quite disgusted.

Since a boy I have always supported the All Blacks and have been lucky enough to tour New Zealand on three occasions during the rugby season to watch Super 12 and Tri Nation games over there. I do not support SA Soccer but do support English soccer. I support SA Cricket and most SA individual sportsmen and women. No, I may not be a fully loyal patriot to this country in everyway, but then life is about choices and the best you make of those choices. If a country can only offer you a limited amount of choices because of it's reversed racist agenda's, then one has to look elsewhere. 

Maybe the only way that SA sportsmen can show the world how good they really are is by playing for overseas clubs, like the Clyde Rathbones and many others because they not getting the same opportunities here and this will continue as long as the race card is been played. Nothing will give me greater pleasure than seeing a English Rugby Club Team made up of South Africans (whatever colours) doing exceptionally well playing in England and in fact in any other country, particularly Australia.


Hi Lucas

I had quick look at the international fixture list (excluding matches against the Pacific Island Warriors) for the Boks, the All Blacks and the Wallabies with the following results:

Springboks - 12 tests
All Blacks - 10 tests
Wallabies - 10 tests

In addition, at the end of the year, the Boks play 5 tests over 5 consecutive weekends, 4 in Europe, and 1 in South America! Rough schedule. When will our administrators wake up! No wonder our guys can't keep up!


Hi Lucas

Here goes my Springbok team: 

15. Jacque Fourie 
14. Ashwill Willemse 
13. De Wet Barry 
12. Ettiene Botha 
11. Henro Mentz 
10. Jaco van der Westhuizen 
9. Fourie du Preez 
8. Adri Badenhorst 
7. Juan Smith 
6. Luke Watson 
5. Victor Matfield 
4. Bakkies Botha 
3. Eddie Andrews 
2. John Smit (c) 
1. Daan Human 

16. Brent Russell 
17. Nel Fourie (as Butch is injured) 
18. Craig Davidson 
19. Shimange 
20. Richard Bands 
21. Selborne Boom 
22. Schalk Burger jnr. 


Hi Lucas

Ja nee kyk, hier gaat ons alweer. Klaar word daar bespiegel oor die "landsverlaters" wat ander weivelde gaan soek het, wat natuurlik net oor geld gegaan het, en niks anders nie. 

Verstaan my mooi, ek het niks teen 'n man wat dit doen nie, maar dan moet hy nie oorweeg word om weer vir Springbokrugby beskikbaar te wees nie. Op geen stadium deur die loop van die seisoen is hierdie spelers beskikbaar vir SA Rugby nie, maar wanneer daar Bokspan gekies moet word dan verander die prentjie. 

Toegegee daar is spelers wat tans nie op vorm is nie, maar my magtig man, gaan werk aan die manne. Skielik word Percy, Jaco en ander manne se name genoem, wat 'n bespotting. Dit lyk meer na gatlek as span kies. Nee wat Jake, pasop dat jy en jou ringkoppe nie hier met 'n ding gaan begin wat ook jou ondergang gaan beteken nie. Die talent en vaardighede is daar, gaan doen net julle werk, en ontgin die diamante.

Sterkte aan die Stormers vir komende naweek, die rugbyland SAL julle ondersteun.

Das Villoen

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