Editors Note


Volume 4, Week 5

Editors Note

Brilliant!!      Finally some positive news for SA rugby! No, not another old boy being selected for England but two South African victories over the dastardly Kiwis, in one weekend! Ja, ja, ja let us not get ahead of ourselves but hey, how good did that make you feel? Kind of like, I just got a date with Charlize Theron, feeling. Talking of showbiz, the producer of Ripleys ‘Believe it or not!’ was seen earlier in the week outside SARFU’s offices in Newlands…

Regular readers of this column will probably know by now that Cape Town is home to this poor tormented rugby soul therefore it was one of the greatest pleasures after a lot of doom and gloom to witness a true spectacle of rugby. The Stormers produced the greatest comeback since Gary Teichman’s Springboks in Durban 1998 (and Lazarus for that matter…), it was absolutely wonderful to watch an SA side play RUGBY. They made it look like the simple game it inherently is and with a bit of savvy outsmarted the poor Highlanders. Early days it is but heck it feels good to win again and yes, it has been a long time OK!

The Super 12 is chugging along nicely and there are some excellent performances to report. The early pacesetters are the Australian teams of the Brumbies and Waratahs who are looking very organized, superbly drilled and confident. They are also leading the log after starting their campaign against the two champion sides of late. The Australians have always impressed with their wonderful individual skill and their attention to detail, no wonder someone like Edie Jones muttered to Jake, ‘if only you fellows could get it right…’ or something to that effect. 

Looking at young Clyde Rathbone, the players are in SA, there is very little doubt about that as they are all succeeding everywhere in the world but in their own country. What to make of that? There are issues in SA rugby and never before has anybody had to deal with professionalism in sport, there is simply no culture or any evolvement of professionalism in this country. England, the glowing peach of rugby has two sporting codes that were professionally managed since 1884 (football) and 1895 (rugb y league). Bet you these guys did not do it right from day one but things revolutionized with time and changing circumstances. Ditto, Australia with rugby league and Ausie rules. These guys did not even have one tenth of the challenges facing a democracy only ten years old this year. These are not excuses dear readers, they are realities and SA is constantly playing catch up, there is no professional ethos or even someone to copy from and it takes years and years of mastering the art. As soon as this cultu re of professionalism is installed at every level there will be rapid strides in all SA sport, unfortunately, these things start at the top.

So endeth the lecture however allow me to share a gripe about the term ‘bringing the game into disrepute’ what exactly does that mean? A guy says what he thinks, a guy show what he thinks and that equals ‘bringing the game into disrepute’. Agreed, guardians are required for anything but who looks after the guardians in this case? Who is counting the reports of gross financial misconduct, or the appointments of lackeys to influential positions? Who looks after a newly appointed MD of a company, whos e brief it is to run the business side of SARFU, yet by own admission state he knows nothing about accounting? Answer? The board and the board consists of the people doing it. Huh? Joseph Heller’s Yossarian would have been far more impressed with this catch 22 than his simple conundrum.

The coming weekend the Six Nations are back and it will be a great weekend of rugby, and this gnarled supporter can frankly admit to his readers that it took 4 issues and 60 minutes of brilliance to rekindle the passion. The mojo is back!

See you at the park!



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Corruption at Work by Desmond Organ
Another week goes by and another round of appalling decisions rocks the South African rugby public. One almost feels sorry for the disappearance of Silas and company, for despite their shortcomings they were not staffing South African rugby positions with disgraced officials. Their can be no denying that the previous coach and several senior members of the administration brought the game into disrepute and that is why they are no longer there. 

The most compelling reason for the weekly barrage of complaints from my laptop is the fact that I believe that there must be a future for South African rugby. I personally would love to write about the game itself on a weekly basis, fortunately I have colleagues who focus on the game so that I can contribute in a small way to the voices that are stacked up against the irregularities and corruption within the sport itself. It should come as no surprise to readers that the current head of SARFU is en gaging in what one can only describe as nepotism. Several weeks before his appointment a well informed source told me that the thing that they most feared about Van “Ruin” was that he would be no different from the dictators that had blackened the reputation of the game in the past.

It saddens rugby lovers the world over that the game has descended into the dark abyss, surely the Camp Staaldraad events were the lowest the game has sunk too since South Africa emerged from isolation. Van Rooyen has been riding on the anti corruption mule for the last month or so and has only succeeded in deepening the crisis in the game. The resignation of key figures in the management structure is a disgrace, the fact that they were able to operate to some degree with the previous structure was sad enough in itself, now they have been forced to resign because they cannot operate at all. 

The only words of wisdom that have flown from the mouth of the new President is the statement that he made a week or so ago regarding the awarding of national contracts to Springbok players. The sad thing is that even with this he has enraged the players and created a diversion that will surely only further complicate the position of the new coach. From my personal recollection I cannot remember a single decision or business process that has had any element of sound business acumen; we even arrived at our new coach after what can only be described as a recruitment circus. The fact that we have by some small miracle got one of the more qualified people to do the job does not guarantee that the people or structures around him are going to work at all.

The so-called business acumen of our President has been questioned by several people with a fair deal of knowledge about corporate governance. Basically the company that he runs is not as successful as people would have you believe. The stock price is a shadow of its former levels and that might just tell you that it has been run into the ground. One gets the distinct impression that we are dealing with a power freak that will do anything that he can to receive his daily dose of power medicine, no matter the cost to South African rugby. A well known web site has highlighted some of the alleged jobs for friend’s campaign and has stirred up a response from besieged rugby fans. It appears as if the only way that the current group can be persuaded to embark on a more professional route is through pressure where it hurts the most, financial support from sponsors. 

Unless the gravy train is brought to a stop there can be no future for South African rugby, administrations come and go but there is still no transformation within rugby. Most people are obsessed with the whole transformation initiative and what it stands for; this is because the issue of racial representation is used to cloud the reality. The real transformation that needs to occur is in the area of professionalism and business ethics, you get that right and the colour issue becomes irrelevant. An y organisation in a country like South Africa cannot be ethical if it does not have the current or future ability to represent the demographics of the country. Perhaps the time has come to call on the support of real business transformation leaders who can manage the complexities of South African rugby. I can think of several people who come to mind and they are quite acceptable to the political leadership as well. It is time that South African rugby rids itself of egotistical and self centered people who do not have the long term interests of the game in mind.

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Someone had to emerge from Jade Stadium 0 from 2 by Vinesh Naicker
I’m sorry to say it but I’m still hung over from the World Cup. In every game that I have watched this season my main thought has been “What have we learned from the Rugby World Cup?”

The first round of the season told me that the coaches and players have learned nothing. The second round of the Super 12 has done nothing to convince me otherwise.

Now I know the cheerleaders out there are saying that the game between the Blues and the Crusaders was one that shows how good rugby can be, sorry I disagree. There was some pretty thrilling rugby out there but it was Rupenis three tries won the game for the Blues and made him the player of the round in my view. There are not too many players in world rugby that cold have scored those three tries. The fact that one of the would be tacklers he bumped off each time was the seemingly pint-sized Ben Blair should in no way detract from his accomplishments. The individual skills of the players in the Crusaders and the Blues could not really be faulted but there were obviously not too many deep thinkers or readers of the game out there. The Crusaders once more struggled to make their game plan work and had no Plan B. Deans brought Mehrtens on this week a little bit earlier than last week, but not in enough time to tip the balance. The Mauger brothers were seriously out of their depth at the highest level and Spencer made Aaron look very ordinary. Carter played well in a beaten side as did McCaw, but why the plodding Ralph was out there when Koonwaiyu and Maddock have pace to burn is a mystery. The fact that Deans game plan had no answers for the Blues shows that he was not blameless for the lack of options NZ displayed at the World Cup.

Spencer himself said in the interview after the game that the Blues only know one way to play and that is to attack from everywhere, if any team in NZ should have had the firepower to counter the Blues successfully then it is the Crusaders, but they really didn’t have a clue.

Although the Blues won spectacularly it is interesting to note that despite getting buried last week when trying to run it out from their goal line twice, they tried it once again. This time they got away with it, with the end result being Spencer dotting down under the posts. That means that that manoeuvre has a 33% success rate, not good enough in my view. That sort of success rate at international level against strong defensive teams like England will bury you.

The Highlanders lost to the Stormers, I know I’m not the only one that is still astounded by the fact that they squandered a 22 point lead. Hats off to the Stormers though, they showed good mental fortitude to come back from that deficit. The fact that they realised that it was the little mistakes that were costing them, managed to tighten up their game, and turned it up a notch shows that South African players and coaches may have started to use their heads again. The only good thing that could be said for the Highlanders is that although obviously not a very inspirational captain on the day, at least Oliver managed to get his throwing into the line outs pretty spot on.

From the way that the Hurricanes have played I have not seen anything to cause me to revise my predictions from Forum 402. They just lack the overall grunt to be in the top four this year.

The Brumbies have shown that they are far from the spent force that many have predicted they would be. They just seem to have that great off-field organisation, which means they can make full use of the talent available to them, to really put good performances on the field. They absolutely gutted the Cats, I stopped watching after they had scored their bonus point for four tries early in the first half. The Cats are going to struggle to regroup after that and it looks to be another bad year for them Down-Under.

The Waratahs are really looking the goods this season; like they do every season, while in the end only flattering to deceive. However, I’ve been looking through their team line up and for the first time in many years they actually have a team of players who seem to be there based on merit. They normally tend to carry a couple of players, especially in the forwards, who are ‘dead wood.’ This season they all seem to be capable of doing the business, even “Droppie” Dunning seems to have learned th e basics of scrimmaging.

The Chiefs have once more shown that they will be the standard that other teams will measure themselves against. By this I mean that the good teams will beat them and the bad teams will lose to them. At the end of the season any team that finishes below them in the round robin should admit they weren’t that flash.

Despite the first round loss the Bulls are still in fourth place and the Stormers look to be in very good shape. The Highlanders are the best placed NZ team in fifth place but the Blues and the Crusaders despite their limited game plans have too much raw talent to remain at the foot of the table for long.

I have expressed this concern before: how can the press get this so comprehensively wrong and further taint one of our own?     Kevin Putt re Butch James

Personally, I believe a player's loyalty should lie with his province.     Rob Wagner, CEO of Western Province 

If you work for a company where the systems are not what they should be, you as individual can try your best, but if the company doesn't get the basics right, it will go bankrupt.       Corne Krige

People want to see winning rugby. We have to put our bodies on the line.     Corne Krige before THAT game

I want to add that my record as Springbok captain is not something I'm proud of. I'm willing to accept responsibility for my part but I don't want to be a scapegoat for things that were out of my control.    Corne Krige

The only people who are continually being knocked in this country are the players.      Joost

They are doing it to ensure that players know who the bosses are. They don't realise that at the end of the day you can make nice speeches, but how do you build loyalty with players? With this happening, what loyalty is there for South African players?      Joost

We just want to apply the money we spend on the Springboks better. That is an important stance the players must understand.      Sarvu vice president Keith Parkinson 

For too long the average South African player has survived on reputation and cash handouts. Those days are over. The public knows it and it is time our players started to accept it.    Gcobani Bobo

It's like watching a pack of elephants wandering around.        Stu Wilson

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Letters to the Editor
Hi Lucas

The Coach

So Chester Williams decided not to play a token role in the Bok’s team but has decided to coach the Cats. In his own words at the Cats he can do what he likes and his decisions count. Once again Chester has been trying to play the racist card and it did not help.

The results say it all and if the rubbish that the Cats dish out is any reflection of Chester’s ability. It’s about time Chester shut up and got on with learning how to coach. Perhaps in a year or two he will learn that ability counts for much and race and a mouth not for much.

Based on the first week of the Super 12 the SA sides look set to occupy the bottom places. If the format is ruined by going to a super 15 or 20 we look set to prop up that table as well. What a sad reflection on a nation whose rugby was of world standard for many decades.

Politics and racism are ruining us 

CJ Hull

Hi Lucas

So pas die briewe van RF week 4 gelees. Lekker om die name van positiewe rugbyondersteuners te kan noem, ..... O vrek, dit lyk my dis net ek? Al die ander ouens het eers die een of ander ou klagtetjie wat al so holrug gery is dat mens dit nie eers meer wil lees nie. Dan eers probeer hulle positief klink. Dinge werk nie so nie, manne. Jy's of 100% positief van die begin af, of jy's negatief. Daar is nou eenmaal net nie plek vir "maar as" nie. As jy nie 100% positief is nie, geniet niemand jou onderst euniing nie. As spelers op die veld sou draf met 'n greintjie twyfel in hul vermoeëns, waarborg ek julle, gaan hulle verloor. Daar is net nie plek vir twyfelaars nie, nie op die veld nie en ook nie as ondersteuners nie. Klaar.

Ek het wel vrae oor die debat wat deesdae gevoer word oor kontrakte: 
Hoe kan spelers wie se kontrakte verlede jaar verstryk het, nou kla dat hulle nog nie nuwe ontrakte ontvang het nie?
Staan SARVU of SA RUGBY (Edms) Bpk onder enige verpligting om kontrakte aan verlede jaar se Springbokke te gee?
Vir hoelank kan 'n speler dan aandring op 'n kontrak?
Is daar op hierdie tydstip 'n Springbokspan? 
Indien nie, waaroor die bohaai?
LAASTENS: HOE OP DEES AARDE KON DIT GEBEUR DAT DAAR SO MET DIE FINANSIES TE WERK GEGAAN IS IN SA RUGBY? (Dis na aanleiding van die bedrae wat deur Brian van Rooyen genoem is op BOOTS & ALL, Dinsdag 24 Februarie. Bv. R50 000 kridietkaart limiet vir 'n amptenaar!!!)
Ek dink hoe gouer ons besef dat die sake eers reg gestel moet word, hoe beter sal dit gaan en blykbaar is Brian besig om dinge reg te stel. Dat dit 'n tydjie sal neem is seker, gee net kans. Daar is blykbaar 'n monster in elke lêer wat oopgemaak word. Feit bly, dit kan nie in die vuur gegooi word nie, dit moet ondersoek en dan reggestel word volgens die grondwet. Dit sal tyd neem, maar SARVU sal daar kom.

Hierdie week is dit ons spanne teen die Ozzies en NZ's. Byvoorbaat aan die Bulle, Katte, Haaie en Stormers, wees positief, speel positief en weet dit, ek staan vierkantig agter julle almal. BAIE STERKTE!

Oom Neels

Hi Lucas

Graag wil ek die volgende sê van die sogenaamde springbokke!

Indien julle dink julle is profesioneel, sou almal van julle bankrot gewees het as julle op die voorwaardes van gholf moes speel.

Julle sou nie eers die "cutoff" gemaak het nie. Vir my is julle eerder 'n klomp vermaaklikheids kunstenaars wat nie bauie goed doen nie. Daarom kan julle nie aandring op die reuse vergoedings nie. Ek stel voor 'n leefbare salaris soos ons gewone mense wat moet werk, om te leef. 'n Bonus indien julle wen.

Pieter Kriel
Teleurgestelde rugby ondersteuner

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