Editors Note


Volume 3, Week 16

Editors Note

Brilliant!     The Super 12 round robin phase is over (thank goodness!) and for 8 teams it is a matter of vini, vidi, I came a cropper! The Blues, Crusaders, Hurricanes and the Brumbies will fight it out for top honours and after 11 matches few can argue with the merit of the system or the semi-finalists present. 

The most disappointed side was probably the Waratahs, who missed out with one try in their home match against the Chiefs. They are ruing the day Matt Dunning read the RWC dispatches stipulating a drop-kick shootout for World Cup final knockout matches! The “crowd favourite” at “our house” was just about as popular as David Campese in the Dwyer household but at least Eddie Jones can make a tick next to Dunning’s name as a prop with first class drop kicking experience!

The South African matches were what we have come to expect from local sides over the last year or two. The Sharks hosted the Bulls and one poor commentator tried to build some atmosphere by talking up the “great” game awaiting viewers however ratings will show that more subscribers were tuned into the Discovery Channel’s description of the mating habits of the North Himalayan Yaks in whispered stereo. And there was a lot more action there than in Durban! The record books will reflect a win for the Bulls and a sixth placed finish on the log. Although one should not condone mediocrity it is important to realise the base they were operating from and Rudi Joubert should be commended for his efforts in what was akin to a mission impossible. As the saying goes, “It’s hard to make a comeback when you haven't been anywhere” and the Bulls were nowhere.

The match at Newlands was according to coach Tim Lane in the after-match press conference, “Not as sh*t as you guys thought it was” - "you guys" meaning the sceptical press corps in front of him. Those of you who regularly attend live matches will concur that there is something about a live match that makes it more special than on television. The hits look harder, the pressure more intense and it all boils down to atmosphere however Newlands’ atmosphere thrives on winning rugby and there was precious little of it this season and frankly the game was as “sh*t as some of us guys thought it was!”

The annual speculation on the make-up of the Springbok XXII will now intensify by the day and Rudolf Straeuli will announce the squad for the tests against Scotland AND the World Cup captain on the 27th of May. That means there is one issue left for RF’s pound of flesh on the team and the merits of either Corne Krige, Bob Skinstad, John Smit or Joost van der Westhuizen as The World Cup Leader. All next week.

The weekend promises to deliver some hard as nails Super 12 rugby, the Blues will host the Brumbies and should in all probability win this match especially with a few key injuries to the Brumbies squad. The only spanner in the works for Carlos and his team could be their own assuredness of winning the game. A knock out is always a 50/50 game, an old cliché maybe but very true. On the South Island the Cantabrians play Umaga’s much-improved Hurricanes who same as the Bulls, jumped six places on the l og to play in only their second semi-final in history. I certainly hope they win this match if for nothing but the perverse joy to see the champion Crusaders toppled!

Have a great weekend and with only two matches to watch what will we be doing with ourselves? I guess there is always the Discovery Channel…



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In Search of Atlantis by Desmond Organ
A trip into Greek Mythology may be just what we need in South Africa; at least then we would have the basis for some kind of long lost majesty. Fact is that we are the minnows of the Super 12 and no media briefing or statistics paranoia is going to hide the truth. The current brains trust may have the beginnings of a successful future but it is very thin to say the least.

We can hide away from the reality and enter into a period of characteristic denial or overzealous patriotism but at the moment no media briefing from the not so well spoken Rudolf Straeuli is going to convince me that we are headed in the right direction. The mere fact that we are looking at overseas-based players is a clear vindication of the fact that without several of them we could be leading lambs to the slaughter. The excuses, justifications and ramifications of failure are there to see for the most ardent of supporters.

To quote a fellow rugby fanatic, you can only piss with the “c..k” that god blesses you with; and that is not borrowed from the halls of medieval mythology. The history of the tournament shows that the Sharks have been the most successful of the South African franchises and that the Stormers or Western Province have made the semi finals on only one occasion, yes statistics do tell the truth. The Cats have made a mockery of the talent at their disposal and the Bulls have bottomed out completely. 

The only sign that the current bunch of rocket scientists has a well-documented plan is the fact that the dominant Currie Cup team has the best record this year. The efforts of one Rudy Joubert should be mentioned in this regard, but let’s give him another season before we land him a more important role. One thing that history teaches us is that one-year of success does not necessarily lead to another. 

The other area that needs drastic attention is the so-called performance components of player’s contracts. One the one hand we have overpaid non performers and on the other we have underpaid players putting their bodies on the line in the hope that they will make it into the elite group and head into the ocean in search of Atlantis. In South Africa’s case some of us do prefer to go in search of the “Last Mohecan”, which last time I looked was not in the annals of Greek mythology but straight out of the lifestyle of Hollywood.

The words of Ray Mordt should not go unnoticed, it is a fact that not all of the players are giving it their all. That is not surprising considering the fact that frequent media announcements appear to guarantee secure futures independent of performance. Coaches should also bear in mind the fact that it is a bad craftsman that blames his tools. You take the job, you collect the pay packet and you produce a table with four legs, each of a different length.

The media is told to avoid being emotional, the national coach being particularly vocal in this regard, perhaps memories die quickly in the shadow of the mountain because it was a very emotional pair of press conferences in the UK last year. Perhaps the past results of the national team are being written into mythical text in an attempt to deny the reality. Sampling statistics out of context is no proof of accuracy. The biggest hoax out of Newlands is that the success of the New Zealand franchises is linked to the same strategy that South Africa is now following.

The reality is that New Zealand has dominated irrespective of the type of strategy that they are following. Regionalism in New Zealand is far more coherent than it is in South Africa and the only argument that holds water is that prior to regionalism and a Super 12 format, South Africa was able to be more dominant. The Super 10 format suited our national set up with its provincial rivalries. 

Australia have managed to produce finalists and winners in both the Super 10 and Super 12 formats, simply put they excelled out of their traditional bases and put in place a regional structure which is so effective that they created a brand a team and a Super 12 trophy out of the Brumbies. What is it then that prevents South Africa from doing the same thing?

It was not long ago that many people blamed the affirmation policies as the reason for failure, strange then that these are now the most celebrated of successes. It becomes all to apparent that it might just have been an act of desperation brought about by a need for survival and the political pressure associated with it. Perhaps we will one day thank the politicians for the pressures because it is the talent that lies hidden that holds the key to Springbok glory. 

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Final Super 12 Log & Weekly XV
Team Played Won Drawn Lost Points diff For Against Points
Blues 11 10 0 1 208 393 185 49
Crusaders 11 8 0 3 95 358 263 40
Hurricanes 11 7 0 4 40 324 284 35
Brumbies 11 6 0 5 45 358 313 31
Waratahs 11 6 0 5 -24 320 344 31
Bulls 11 6 0 5 -34 320 354 30
Highlanders 11 6 0 5 41 287 246 29
Reds 11 5 0 6 -37 281 318 26
Stormers 11 5 0 6 -99 255 354 23
Chiefs 11 2 0 9 -31 288 319 18
Sharks 11 3 0 8 -65 241 306 17
Cats 11 2 0 9 -139 259 398 13

RF Super 12 XV: 

15 Todd Miller (Chiefs), 14 Doug Howlett (Blues), 13 Tana Umaga (Hurricanes), 12 Matt Giteau (Brumbies), 11 Lote Tuqiri (Waratahs), 10 Carlos Spencer (Blues), 9 Justin Marshall (Crusaders), 8 Juan Smith (Cats), 7 Wikus van Heerden (Bulls), 6 George Smith (Brumbies), 5 Daniel Vickerman (Brumbies), 4 Ali Williams (Blues), 3 Kees Meeuws (Blues), 2 Anton Oliver (Highlanders), 1 Rob Kempson (Stormers)

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In South Africa and Australia there are fewer top players and they deliberately kept their powder dry in the Super 12. They're faking it - trying not to get injured or too hyper at the start of a long season..    Norm Hewitt 

I think South African rugby is ultra-poor at the moment. They've got no coaches. And if you take Eddie Jones out of Australia, they're pretty ratsh*t as well.       Norm Hewitt

If a player (of ours) who is overseas is decidedly better than a player in the country I will do anything to get him back in the country.    Rudolf Straeuli

We were ordered to walk away from the aircraft. On seeing that the pilot was already standing in the veld, we realised this was very serious.     Harold Verster on the Cheetahs arrival at Johannesburg International Airport

When you look at the overseas teams compared to a lot of our players they are far more professional.     Ray Mordt

I've been trying all year to stop my forwards from drop-kicking it. Guess I'm buggered now.    Robbie Deans on the RWC knockout rule

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Letters to the Editor
Dear Lucas

Firstly congrats on reaching the 100th edition and on a great forum, I would like to bring something to the readers attention that I am sure is not new but dismissed, has anyone noticed the common trend taking place in our team sports, hear I am stepping over the line of generalising but take the top money making team sports I.e cricket, rugby and (football) in the international arena, in the past they Were recognised as top class contenders and feared competitors who were always placed in the top four going into World Cups encounters but going forward the two are now been more aligned to how our Football gets placed in a World Cup namely the double figures and their play is starting to befit the position allocated. 

Who is to blame, not the players or coaches but much higher, the administrators, the Balfours and Bachers . They are the ones enforcing the changes like the Transvaal and Free State to emerge as the Cats, the quota system thereby causing our top class players to travel abroad as there is no future for them here. I for one disagreed with players like Paulse and Ntini when they first emerged on the scene but they have grown and proven to be great players who have deserved there places but are just two, there is a few more but the quota system has done more damage than good for these two sports, why have they not tampered with things that need tampering, why have they not looked at the football in this country and tampered there, where not only is it required but a whole facelift needs to take place.

Unfortunately this armchair critic has made this statement before, but will remind the readers again, like the Kingsmead football stadium in Durban, that sits there empty and once was filled to the brim with spectators, so will happen with rugby and cricket in South Africa, the stadiums are becoming empty, have a close look at Newlands. Something I keep telling all would be sportsmen/women, there is no future in South Africa for them in the team sports arena, rather turn their energies and efforts to individual sports like golf and tennis, if a youngster is talented and truly wants to play in a team sport to rather immigrate overseas, and play for New Zealand, England etc until the bull**** stops. As in a company you cannot blame the workers for not performing when all is not well from the top, like a pyramid things need to filter down correctly, not the other way round.


Hi Lucas,

Predicting the Bok backline

Now that the S12 has ended (for the SA teams at least) we can all continue with our favourite pass time - predicting the next Springbok team!

I have been keeping a close eye on the media and Rudolf Straeuli certainly has been throwing a lot of names around these last few weeks, so it should make our predictions easier, or should it? Just try and figure out the Bok backline given all these clues.

Before the S12 these 8 backs were contracted: Neil de Kock, Bolla Conradie, Andre Pretorius, Dean Hall, Marius Joubert, Breyten Paulse, Werner Greef, Brent Russell. Since then Joost has been identified as the first choice scrumhalf, Dean Hall, Breyton Paulse and Werner Greef are injured and won't will be available for the Scotland tests. That leaves us with only have 3 contracted players in Andre Pretorius, Marius Joubert and Brent Russell. 

About a month ago, the (normally poker faced) Bok coach declared out of the blue that Andre Pretorius, Brent Russell, Werner Greef, Marius Joubert and Bobo are Bok definites unless they seriously loose the plot (since then that is exactly what Bobo did).

2 weeks later Rudolf declared that Werner Greef might only be considered for flyhalf if he can get Thinus Delport or Percy to come back! But did'nt he also mention that Greef and Pretorius will rotate the flyhalf/fullback positions depending on if the Boks are attacking or defending? Then there where journalists reporting that the coach also wants Pieter Muller back!

For the last round of S12 matches the coaches where asked to rest the following backline players: Joost, Greg Davidson, Andre Snyman and Stefan Terblanche. The injured, but also mentioned as "rested" backline players included: Robbie Fleck, Werner Greeff, Brent Russell and Breyton Paulse. 

Given all these clues, how do you think RS's backline will look like? 

Thinus Meyer

Hi Lucas

Hoe ek dit sien

Ek het sopas Rugby Forum Volume 3 week 15 se briewe gelees. Daar is veral 3 briewe wat my dwing om ook my opinie te lug. Voordat ek begin wil ek dit net duidelik stel, ek is 'n rugbyondersteuner, nie provinsialisties nie, nie Super-12 streek gebonde nie, maar beslis alles vir Suid-Afrika.

Die eerste van Storm Ferguson. Hy het dit teen die posisie waarin die arme Werner Greeff hom tans bevind en ek voel hy is 100% in die kol. Tydens die 2002 seisoen het almal na 'n losskakel vir die Bokke gesoek en talle name is genoem. Werner het in daardie stadium vir die Stormers die No. 10 trui gedra en week na week bestendige spel gelewer. Nie flashy nie, bestendig. Al die ander losskakels het see-saw-wedstryde gespeel, een week op en die volgende af. Ek het Werner se naam aan Naas en Arnold Geerd s genoem in 'n Super Rugby program op Kyk-Net. Toe het hulle eers agtergekom dat Werner ook daar is. Nou, iets wat ek van Werner kan sê, en ek het hom nog net op TV sien rugby speel, het nog nooit en sal seker ook nooit die man in lewende lywe ontmoet nie, maar, daar is nie 'n posisie in die agterlyn waarin Werner nie sy ALLES sal gee nie. Hy het al die posisies gespeel, buiten No. 9, en was elke keer bestendig, goed en ook briljant, nooit swak nie. Maar, ék glo, en ek dink Werner sal dit ook erken, sy bes te posisie is op heelagter. Daar is in Suid-Afrika nie 'n heelagter wat dinge doen soos hy nie. Ek dink met hom in die laaste linie voel almal voor hom veilig. Ons verstaan die Stormers se beseringspenarie. Ek voel tog dat Gert Smal 'n losskakel uit die "Renegades" kon gaan haal om die probleem op te los, ter wille van Bokrugby en Werner Greeff.

Mnr. Ferguson noem ook die geval Russell. Ek het reeds aan Chester Williams 'n brief gestuur, via Super Rugby op Kyk-Net, om uit te vind of hy nie genoeg geld het om die mannetjie te koop vir Sewes nie. Ek glo as daar in Suid-Afrika nou een eksponent van Sewes rondloop is dit Brent Russell. Die 15-man kode is nie vir hom nie. Hy het tydens die proewe verlede jaar op die veld gekom, uitgerus, en skielik almal laat regop sit met sy drieë teen 'n span wat reeds stokflou was. Die hele Suid-Afrika, ek ook , het gedink dis 'n gestuurde! Maar die afrigters bestudeer wedstrydvideo's so intensief en ken elke beweging wat 'n speler moontlik sal maak. Ek kan Russelltjie se bewegings al voorspel as hy op die veld draf. Hy sal met elke bal wat hy kry 'n gaping probeer soek. Dwars hol en die res van die agterlyn teen die kantlyn vasdruk. Dan is hy so klein en lig dat teenstanders gewoonlik nog die bal by hom afneem as hulle hom plattrek. Daar is net nie so baie gapings nie. In Sewes is die veld vol gapings. Mens moe t daar iemand afsonder om net vir Russell op te pas. Asseblief Chester, as jy hierdie lees, wil jy nie 'n plan maak nie? Wat die Sharks besiel het om hom te koop, weet net hulle!

Die volgende brief kom van Koos Carelse en hy noem dit dat daar ge-oefen word maar nie afrigting plaasvind nie. Daar is beslis 'n verskil en miskien slaan hy ook die spyker op die kop. Afrigting behels die indril van fyner tegnieke, taktiek, kommunikasie ens. Om nou nog te oefen, dws fiksheid te bereik, is beslis hopeloos te laat. Afrigters moet tydens "oefensessies" eintlik afrondingswerk doen, foute regstel ens. Om spelers nou te wil moor is verkeerd. Kyk wat het Loffie Eloff met die onder 19's ged oen. Daar word gesê dat die Franse nie kon glo hulle oefen net 45 minute op 'n dag nie. Wat hulle vermag het weet ons almal.

Die laaste brief het my ou hart warm laat klop. Colin van Rensburg jou patriot! Met manne soos jy kan mens oorlog toe gaan. Ek stem saam, ons kan die beker wen. Die beste 30 spelers moet net gekies word en niemand sal die Springbokke klop nie. Nie eens die Witgevaar van die eilandjie in die noordelike halfrond nie. Wie is die beste manne? Die wat na BOOTS & ALL gekyk het op 6 Mei sal weet van wie Ray Mordt gepraat het. Die beste manne is die ouens wat professioneel altyd alles gee met trots op di e Springboktrui.

Kys de Wet

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