Editors Note


Volume 6, Week 3

Editors Note

Brilliant!      Expect the unexpected. And expect a Mel Gibson movie in the not too distant future, glorifying the Scotland Six Nations team circa 2006. It might not have been Prince Edward’s army but the French were sent home, ‘to think again’! Early days though!

In a wonderful opening weekend to the proud Six Nations tournament, the minnows of the past few years delivered some crushing opening statements. In the last few years, Italy and Scotland gracefully occupied the bottom of the ladder in points and performance. They both have new coaches and with their performances of the weekend, may just be changing their bad fortune of late, Scotland certainly did.

The Irish, at Lansdowne Road in Dublin are a formidable foe and with superstar captain Brian O’Driscoll back at the helm and with some excellent Heineken Cup performances from their provinces everybody predicted a confident and good victory over Italy. Well the Italians played the best rugby, displaying more bravery in 80 minutes than in two world wars. Yes, they were hard done by a referee in his first game at that level but despite the close defeat, they showed the promising signs of a very good modern rugby team.

The defence was excellent, the scrumming and lineouts were more than solid against the ‘feared’ Munster dominated Irish. Unfortunately, discipline probably due to the old Latin temperament is still a problem but the signs are there that this Berbizier-coached team can be a lot more competitive than anyone dared before. He certainly has unearthed a flyhalf to step into the great Dominguez’ shoes – the lad, despite his 10 minute rest was very very good indeed. With plenty of flair, an accurate boot and a defensive game, he looked the best no 10 of the opening weekend. With a flyhalf one can build a winning team, ask Clive.

In the end Ireland, squeaked home. Questions must be asked of the coaching efficiency of Eddie… not too popular a name for a head coach… he has one or two world class players, continuity in selection and combinations who play together at provincial level, yet it has been a long time since a great Irish performance. Yes, they beat Australia last year but a lot was written on that team’s performance and the subsequent dismissal of Eddie… Jones that is, was the result. Ireland is capable of a lot better and they need to take a few steps up.

Scotland played a magnificent match to beat France at Murrayfield and one can imagine Bill MacLaren including this match as one of his favourite non commentating matches of all time. The Scots bludgeoned the French in the forwards and glorious maul after glorious maul resulted in a try on one occasion. They were hustling and bustling the blue clad figures of the ‘second best’ team in the world (according to the shrill voice of Jonathan Davies) and made them look quite ordinary. Pressure can do that to most good teams and the French were pressured into defeat. Not that Scotland was perfect, far from it and that is the good news from this match, they played superbly with room to improve and for Scottish supporters there in lies the greatness of the occasion.

France, oh deary me – that was the kind of lacklustre performance one expected of their opponents on the day. Yes, they had plenty of injuries but it looked like some players were only introduced to each other that morning and very fleetingly as well. The passes went to ground, their forwards were dominated and opportunities to run at the Scots were plentiful after the Scot’s coach for some reason decided to substitute their excellent flyhalf with a pointless kicker of note. A form French team would have seized on all those counter attacking opportunities and punished the opposition. Alas, to Scotland’s great joy, this was no form French team.

England, finally displayed the type of game one expects from the reigning world champions. The signs were there during their autumn test series and they have built on those performances to annihilate the Grand Slam champions, Wales. It was the England forwards who dominated possession to provide the backline with ample opportunities to score. The backs have the thrust and the power of the sabre but they still do not have the rapier of a Guscott and one wonders why Stuart Abbott is not given an opportunity to weave his magic on the big stage. All in all it was a most satisfying performance for the coach and the ideal way to start a Grand Slam campaign and the all important build up to defending their title next year.

This Friday and weekend, the Super 14 rears its head for the first time. The expanded Super 12 will now provide 7 matches over the weekend! That is a lot of rugby! It will be interesting to see how the new boys on the block perform. For SA and Aus to dilute their talent will be a significant factor, for the Kiwis its business as usual, all their teams have experience and depth. If you are playing at that level for 13 odd weeks, then they have the inside track by default. Hopefully the competition is competitive and not a lopsided affair with effectively two leagues in one. Upsets is essential to make this competition work or this dedicated follower predicts a very boring competition without the huge crowds of the past.

The first round is usually about home derbies and a few interesting match ups are on the cards. Certainly in SA the fixtures are very very interesting, the Bulls and the Cheetahs meet again in a Currie Cup final re-match, this time in Bloemfontein.

As usual, no predictions for the tournament until the second week so enjoy the weekend and it will take a brave man to watch all 7 matches! Enjoy!



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Lawrence Dallaglio is a quality player and he came on and played a quality game but we have got to put all egos aside if we want England to be successful. I've got no ego about anything. I am very content with how we played.       Martin Corry

I guess we just have to take it on the chin. We dished it out last year when we won the Grand Slam and now we have to regroup quickly for next week against Scotland.       Mike Ruddock

It was an ugly game of rugby by any standards.       Eddie O'Sullivan

The biggest problem is in the promotion-relegation issue. We oppose the idea. We will protect our rights in this regard.          Cheetahs president Harold Verster

The ARU received a large number of applications and we cast a broad net. Given the challenges we face, a John Connolly led coaching team is the fresh start Australian rugby needs.         Gary Flowers

I don't mind a challenge and they don't come bigger than winning a World Cup. It's a great privilege to coach the national team. We've got 20 Test matches to get the team in a winning position.       John Connolly

It's ridiculous that the Spears, who are clearly not yet even ready to be competitive in the Currie Cup, can just walk into next year's Super 14 at the expense of one of the other sides.      'Anonymous' top rugby official

It's now up to SA Rugby to have the balls to stand up to these dinosaurs and for (SA Rugby President) Brian van Rooyen to put his foot down.        Southern Spears chief executive Tony McKeever

By not actually wearing a number on the back then I think it actually takes away from the players' minds and mindsets that if they are wearing 10 or seven or whatever it is that is the only job players do on the field. I want the players to think beyond that.          Ewen McKenzie

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Hi Lucas,

Roll on 2006! Roll on the SARU presidential elections but, before we all assume Oregan Hoskins, as honest and professional as he may be, is the best choice ponder on this.

Since Oregan Hoskins became president of the KZN Union it experienced its worst playing history ever. Additionally, most supporters and players are extremely critical of the KZN administration. As Nedbank once suggested: 'It makes you think, doesn't it?'

Who else? What about that Dolf oke, ex-Blue Bulls and now with SARU? He was their president that pulled them from sticking on the absolute bottom Super 12 rung to the force they are today. In other words, unlike Hoskins, he guided the Blue Bulls from total despair and hopelessness to above the great heights they once enjoyed. Again, as Nedbank once suggested: 'It makes you think, doesn't it?'

I'm a KZN rugby supporter and still believe our famous stadium is King's Park and that ABSA can take a flying voetsak for their arrogance, but the fairness of sport runs in my veins so I cheered the Cheetahs Currie Cup win as years overdue, easily accept that a lot of black players are better than white ones and only want to see the very best for RSA rugby. You'll accept then that I am a tad chary about the media's ready acceptance and enthusiasm for Hoskins without really checking his record.

Finally, if I enter your competition could I rather have cash than tickets so I can play golf when the Sharks play, thus avoiding heart break?

Storm Ferguson

Beste Lucas.

Ek stem heelhartig saam met Hein wat kommentaar gelewer het op die OP gesetelde streekspan. Dit is uit en uit 'n politieke besluit gewees. Ek het ook voorheen genoem dat Brian van Rooyen nie die pos as SA Rugby se president waardig is nie en nou het sy "bubble" uiteindelik gebars. Wat de hel het die man daar gesoek in elk geval. Ek plaas ook die blaam aan die voete van die ander "fat cats" wat daar sit. Het hulle nie die "bols" om die besluite wat die agbare mister van sport, mnr Stoflap maak teen te staan nie. Ek het 'n goeie voorstel. Laat die kwota minister en sy trawante 'n span saamstel en laat daar 'n nie kwota span teen hulle speel om vir eens en altyd te bewys wie kan rugby speel. Ek vrees die dag as ons rugby die Umfana Umfana roete gaan en alles dui daarop dat dit so gaan wees.

Chris Erasmus

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