Editors Note


Volume 6, Week 16

Editors Note

Brilliant!      OK, so it’s a done deal for the All Blacks in this year’s Tri Nations. Henry will probably now select his 5th and 6th teams to tour and wrap the stars in cotton wool for the world cup. Yip. Jealousy makes you nasty!

The Kiwis, got the all important away victory when they beat a game Australian side last weekend. The match was highlighted by phenomenal defence from both sides and all kinds of sparring techniques that would had Sugar Ray Leonard blushing with pleasure. A chip kick here, up and under there, cross field attempts – it was parry and thrust at its best.

Dan Carter and Richie Macaw again rose high to the occasion – international coaches must be ruing their luck that these two marvels gained prominence not only in the same era, but in the same provincial team and national team. They are match winners and few people at the game or who watched the superhuman effort of Richie to stop a Wallaby sure try in the corner will forget it. Its like the old feel good movie, Escape to Victory where Pele, disguised as an English POW executes his famous overhead bicycle kick and the German coach replays it in his mind over and over to finally jump up, solitary between the German wehrmacht officers and applaud. No doubt he was shot after the match… and Pele!

Unfortunately for the rest of world rugby, this is what this All Black team is capable of and then there is Gear, Rokocoko, and plenty of others gifted enough to provide moments of brilliance. Add to that a scrum bristling with power the only weakness is in the lineouts and thank every God for that. If Victor Matfield or Bakkies was to defect and join Chris Jack the All Blacks would be completely invincible.

Is there any hope of beating this well oiled machine? There has to be. They will be severely tested on the highveld, not necessarily by the Springboks but more by the conditions and the menacing Pretoria stronghold Loftus and Rustenburg’s Royal Bafokeng Stadium. But then ditto for the locals as this observer cannot imagine that any of the current crop of Springboks have even been to Rustenburg never mind played there. The All Blacks will come unstuck somewhere along the line and hopefully for their supporters sake it’s not in the semi-finals of 2007 – until then it will take a miracle.

This coming weekend, the Springboks take on the Aussies for their final away match. Playing in Australasia has been the Achilles’ heel of all Springbok sides and not since 1937 have they sailed away with a sense of domination and respect. In fact for many years after it was only respect and in the last decade it is only flying away, British Airways nogal. There is no domination and very very little respect.

Can they turn the tables after yet another week or two of verbal diarrhea from the camp? Every time the Update channel on the local pay for view station centers on a Springbok press conference or a newspaper quotes an interview, a steady stream of manure explodes. They may have a coach and assistants and probably not enough according to Wallaby and All Black standards, but they need a manager, preferably somebody with important letters before and after his name. Until then it is a PR disaster happening at every occasion.

Apologies, digressing. Can the Springboks win? A few readers have asked this writer for a lot more positivism – well here we go. The Springboks will go out and score 5 tries with a display of attacking brilliance and vitriol combined in a best-ever performance on Australasian soil. The referee will be praised for his magnificent contribution and the Aussies commended for being such generous losers. Wait. Something wrong here.

The days, of blind Springbok followers are way over. They are no longer the emotional-follow-passionately-and-blindly where ever their team play supporters of yesteryear. Expectations have become realistic. So, after all that, no, the Springboks will again walk off with a ‘credible’ loss or like John Robbie always describes his old Irish team, ‘another glorious defeat’. To win, will take a gargantuan effort from Butch James to control the match and a forward effort that will shame the Blitzkrieg of ’39. Even then the creativity is more or less that of a clay pigeon and as easy to shoot down. Sorry folks.

Enjoy the match and support your team – even playing golf did not help with this supporter so it’s back to the favourite couch and a straight jacket. Enjoy!



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 Disgraceful by Desmond Organ

Two weeks ago I spoke of people falling through the Ice, well it is high time that I joined the rest of the media in South Africa and launched an all out attack on the upper echelons or rugby in South Africa. Reading in the press today that the nightmare tour is now blessed with the President of SARU staying with the Springboks on tour and that he will be joined by the Chairman of the Board and the CEO, I am disgusted.

We are not talking about a world class organisation here that merits these all expenses paid trips to the far flung corners of the World, we are talking about a corrupt dysfunctional over transformed rugby administration that cannot even manage the affairs of the various Unions that run the game in South Africa. As far as I can see it is business as usual, the Springboks are back to their perennial position as whipping boys of the Tri Nations. But who cares as long as the money from the Television rights keeps on coming in, so long as the fickle South African supporter keeps on watching the games on Television and pays for tickets for Tests at home.

The administrators; and one now has to include Jake White amongst them as a result of his self induced arrogance are desperate for a few home wins, this is what has always worked in the past. A beating away from home followed by a couple of wins at home against the Aussies and it will be business as usual. Several years ago it would have been wins at home against the Aussies and the Kiwis but that has been replaced by beatings at home from the Kiwis and a narrow win or loss against the Aussies. The results of the last two years were a one off, the equivalent of a long overdue wet season or a scorching drought.

Jake the schoolmaster has outgrown his stay to the point that he is now telling the South African media that they have got it all wrong and that he does have a master plan. He is starting to remind me of a coach who could not remember the names of players, perhaps there is some truth in the rumour that he called up the wrong twin, perhaps there is also a little bit of a chip off the shoulder when it comes to selection. Luke Watson and Ruan Pienaar spring to mind; what is it that Jake does not like about sons of former players? Perhaps Jake would benefit from becoming a Lecturer rather than being a school teacher. He is naïve enough to start to try the art of spin with a communications manager that does not even know what is being said at Press Conferences that he organises or so it would seem.

Bungling from one week to another without a plan or a strategy, the three quarter coach is out of his depth as are several of the players from the “disadvantaged” community, although I would hesitate to call the outclassed and overweight representatives as disadvantaged. Injustice on the most appalling scale in the Apartheid years has been replaced with tokenism on an alarming scale. Just go and look at the performances. The most embarrassing experience for me was Mexted talking up the Springboks and particularly Tybilika, he and the team were out of their depth against a New Zealand second string and everybody knows it. White humiliates Tybilika one week and then defends him another. Solly you played your guts out but hear it straight from the heart, you are not a world class fetcher, you never were and you never will be.

That is not to say that several of his peers were any better, it is just completely unfair to expect somebody to perform at that level when they are out of their depth, is transformation becoming humiliation or just another example of bad affirmative action. In the long run the politicians and the administrators do not care, that is so long as the South African population turn up at the test matches at home and rave about the few victories that come their way.

Amidst all of this the most damning is the fact that there are players out there who deserve a chance at the highest level, players that fit all the requirements set down by the politicians and the supporters, however they are never given a chance because the people that benefit most from the ongoing disaster are the people at the top, good old fashioned Neo Colonialism in the midst of the South African rugby team.

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