Editors Note


Volume 6, Week 2

Editors Note

Brilliant!      Consistency is one of the cornerstones of the game of rugby. The coaches seek it in team selection and players strive to perform with the reliability of a Volvo – sleek and powerful yet very safe under pressure.

Luckily here in South Africa, we have plenty of consistency. For any Martian on a two year visit, it is no difficult task to identify the beginning of a new rugby season. The signs are all out there and it is not necessarily circles in the corn fields; Charlize Theron is up for an Oscar, the Proteas are losing matches they should win, Bafana Bafana is useless, the perennial administrators squabble hog the headlines and there is an injury list to rival Napoleon’s army return from Russia. So, all is well!

With hardly a ball kicked in anger, the administration of the game is in jeopardy
yet again. Probably not in as much jeopardy should the ‘first-class’ president, Brian van Rooyen continue. The problem for the president is that his deal making of the past has finally caught up with him and the other gravy train occupants are abandoning him like rats in a flood amid more corruption charges against him than Nixon.

Despite Dr Ali Bacher’s attempts at a ‘peaceful’ severance and absolution from the charges Brian is fighting on manfully. Who can blame him? He gets to choose any car he wants despite the Union’s sponsorship deal, massive lunch bills are paid without the blink of an eyelid and he has autocratic powers to make decisions all while renting his own company office out to SARU at considerable expense. Sounds fantastic! All things equal, a first class fight is looming for the presidency of the South African Rugby Union this month.

Real rugby is kicking off this weekend, with the start of the Six Nations. The annual showcase of European rugby is one this follower’s favourite rugby spectacles. Before the days of World Cups, Super somethings and Tri Nations and when the Springboks did not play, the Five Nations provided a grainy picture (old televisions!) of international rugby at its best. Agreed, time and quality of rugby has moved on and thankfully so but the history involved in the clashes is what makes this tournament special.

The big game of the weekend is the defending champions, Wales against England. Wales won the comp against all expectations last year. They had an enterprising running style of play and in the end deserved the spoils, this year will be slightly more difficult. Like all good and in their case great achievements, the challenge is in repeating them against opposition that has been forced to re-think, re-group and improve to achieve success. And none are under more pressure than England.

The World Champions has performed below par from the heady days of lifting the Web Ellis trophy. These things happen; few teams can sustain such a high level of dominance, with personnel changes and the post euphoria of mission accomplished. In fact, coaches are probably best served, to get al lot of these winners either pensioned off or send them on a sabbatical for at least two seasons. They will arrive back, hungry, motivated and an asset to their team. And it is not just the case with England, similar things happened with the Springboks and Australia.

The other matches will prove as entertaining but it will be more a matter of seeing at what standard, France will perform this year – expect a high and winning standard and if Ireland can re-mobilize their ‘old’ team with a few youngsters and super star captain, Brian O’Driscoll they will again be a force but not really winning material. Both teams should win and comfortably so and the results will determine who will dictate the flow of this years competition.

Enjoy the start to another great season of rugby, thank you for the letters, keep them coming! As usual this year, RF will be running a competition for tickets to Sharks matches, complimentary of www.sharksrugby.co.za. The first two readers to mail the name of the Sharks player with the nickname ‘Fabio’ will receive two tickets each to the Sharks opening Super 14 clash against the Chiefs on 11 February.



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At Mr Brian van Rooyen's request, I met him on Thursday (January 26) in Sandton and he asked me, for certain reasons, to facilitate his exit from South African rugby," said Bacher. "I agreed to do so."       Ali Bacher

The relationship between the Welsh and the English is based on trust and understanding. They don't trust us and we don't understand them.       Dudley Wood

These English you're just going out to meet have taken our coal, our water, our steel; they buy our houses and only live in them a fortnight a year... Down the centuries these English have exploited and pillaged us - and we're playing them this afternoon, boys.        Phil Bennett, captain of Wales in a team talk before a test against England.

Following Scotland's accusations of French foulplay - if you can't take a punch, you should play table tennis.  Pierre Berbizier

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Hi Ed,

At the start of the S14 season, there were a few warm-up games played, that was VERY interesting to observe. The decision made AGAIN by politicians in charge of sport, to MAKE the "Southern spears" a S14 team in 2007 still baffles me.

How long until we realize that EVERYTHING of what led to the decision in 2005, to FORCE a small province into the S14, was notably PROPAGANDA and well thought through.

How can this ever work, South Africa will be the laughing stock of 2007, that is for sure.

Look at the scores in the warm-up games against the Southern Spears, look at the margins that it was won by, Province won by 70 points, Cheetahs won by 45 points, etc, etc. How will they put together a team in 2007, draw players from other provinces. Will it be the same as putting the Free state and JHB players together to for the Cats...it never ever worked !

Can this political decision be withdrawn?

Look at the example of soccer as a sport in South Africa, and you can see what is happening, politicians and administrators cannot run the game.

They can be the biggest province with color players and rightfully so, but

Lets be honest to ourselves:
1. you first play school rugby (and get somewhere, win something)
2. you first play club rugby (and get somewhere, win something).
3. you first play provincial rugby (and get somewhere, win something).
4. you first play Vodacom Cup rugby (and get somewhere, win something).
5. you first play Curry Cup rugby (and get somewhere, win something).

Was this ever achieved by the Eastern Province/Border, that I missed somewhere.

Why can there not be another solution to develop these players, in due time, play/tour the Japanese, Italian, Argentina, Namibia champions, play/tour the 5 nations champions, with a a huge financial backing from sponsors.

How can you throw THESE PLAYERS in a S14 game, what will be left of these players after such a grueling competition, what will be left of these players self-confidence, and how can this decision go ahead.

I rest my case,


Hi Ed,

Desmond Organ seems decidedly biased towards the Bulls. As I recall RF also predicted that the Cheetah's had no chance of winning the Currie Cup. Fortunately rugby is played on the field, and sometimes commitment and passion achieve more than big budgets, and resources.

Otherwise the Bulls would have been finalist regularly, but they regularly fail to adapt to changing environments in the competition.

Time will tell, but somehow I think the Cheetah's will prove to be more than just a nuisance factor. Does Desmond propose that the other 4 SA teams help the Bulls get there. Wake up and smell the roses. Rugby is a professional sport, and it's a tough environment, no quarter will be asked or given.

Enjoy the game

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