Editors Note


Volume 6, Week 12

Editors Note

Brilliant!      The first season of the Super 14 has come and gone and in a misty kind of way, nothing really changed. The end result was another Crusaders victory and a show of dominance from the Kiwi’s – again!

For the first time in the history of the Super rugby competition, this commentator did not witness the final. Apparently neither did the commentators and most of the spectators as thick fog swept over Jade Stadium, nullifying what was anticipated to be a great final. A pity indeed as the finalists was two of the more entertaining teams on display this year. In the end, the best team on the planet (even though they lost to the Stormers!) confirmed their dominance and made a mockery of thoughts that their time has come and gone. Well done Mr Deans.

The reason for missing the big (non) game was a brief sojourn to the stunning Costa del Sol in Spain and there only one game hogs headlines and it is not rugby! Yes, the so-called ‘beautiful game’ football is no 1, 2 and 3. We, here in the Southern Hemisphere, think rugby is a huge game however seldom but in one of the large stadiums and probably in Pretoria has this writer seen the kind of adulation for sports stars than in Spain. Every kid, most men and more than enough ladies sport the colour of their favourite team and player.

THE man in the South, at the moment, is Ronaldhino - Barcelona’s Brazilian superstar and forget that he is from Brazil. This small geographical oversight has nothing to do with his popularity, in fact it probably enhances his appeal and a visitor can be forgiven in thinking that Spain actually supports Brazil and not their own ‘not-so-bad’ side. Anyway, enough of football there are better games in the real South!

The new Super 14 was a conflicting series, it begun to early and there was very little enthusiasm especially after dire performances from most of the South African teams. It should no longer be a concern anymore that every start of the season is accompanied by the gnashing of teeth, frayed nerves and the acceptance that no South African side will ever win this grueling comp.

Inevitably, one or two teams manage to show some promise (Bulls and Sharks this year) and everybody gathers hope. Typically confidence (read arrogance) soars only to be brutally disappointed come semi-final time and the truth settles in (again!) that South African teams are ill equipped and ill prepared to triumph in this competition. This ‘Super’ phenomenon is by now well documented and there must certainly be a few doctoral thesis’s on their way, in Psychology no doubt.

Plenty of diatribe and theories abound as to the lack of success and historically, travel has been cited as the major culprit. Players insist it is very difficult to cross time zones not once but a few times and to spend 4-5 weeks abroad living out of a suitcase is very disruptive. No supporter will ever know but surely, after 11 years of doing this somebody somewhere must have a plan if not the answer? Or have learnt form this? Oops, sorry no. Coaches and managers are changed every two years (in some cases justified…) administrators are too busy on the gravy train and incompetent to add value so there is no transfer of knowledge and experience from one group to the next. And if there is, forgive me but it is not showing! In short a lack of vision and management.

Who knows, maybe within 20 years, it will come right but history, never lies and on the current path it is probably best to return to isolation with a strong accent on the Currie Cup. Players will get enough rest, Naas’ saying of the Cup is not won in May – the traditional start of the season - will ring true and in any case, the Super 14 teams only produce their best efforts when playing each other at home. Practically, the Rubicon was crossed a long time ago and there is no turning back but who blames Jake White for pleading that every team and every structure is geared towards the performance of the national team? Certainly not this couch potato.

This weekend, a Springbok XV will take on a World XV to celebrate 100 years of the Springbok name. A great man is to thank for this celebration - Nelson Mandela whose influence retained the sacred symbol and hopefully there is in a way tribute to him as well as Paul Roos and his ‘Het Springbokken’ of 1906. Enjoy the game - finally we see international rugby again!



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