Editors Note


Volume 3, Week 32

Editors Note

Brilliant!          There is no need to remind you the readers that the World Cup is kicking off in a few weeks time neither is it necessary to indicate the perilous build up of the Springbok side for this showcase event and it is definitely laborious to point out that there are some mighty fine players who are not booked on the BA business class flight to Sydney/Perth in October. Rugby, or rather South African rugby is probably the last topic anybody wants to read (or write) about right now unless you are gloating ov er the current malaise.

But hell, why not? At the end of the day Rugby Forum was initiated for the love of the game and those of you who do not click the delete button immediately share in this passion of ours. It is with great pride that I can announce that one of our own, Desmond Organ will be attending the World Cup as an official, bona fide rugby writer representing RF! Not too bad for a small publication at the end of the darkest continent!

Desmond, will be following the Springboks during the pool stages and while costing him a pretty penny, will live out every rugby fanatic’s dream. We are planning to provide RF readers with some invaluable inside information and first hand experiences of the greatest rugby showcase on earth. Phew, drum roll and fireworks please! What will be welcome are suggestions from you as to what kind of info you want to read about, remember RF is not about selling papers, reader volumes or any of those “integr ity” factors accompanying mainstream media. It is about fun, forum and fervor for the game.

OK, enough of the namby, pamby fannying about… WP played masterful rugby against a shell-shocked Blue Bulls team over the weekend when they came out with an early blitzkrieg that would have made the little Austrian proud. The ball flew from hand to hand like a Chicago Bulls attack during the Jordan heydays. There were no handling errors, the treacherous convex Newlands ground popped the ball patriotically into eager blue-and-white clad arms and the 30,000 odd crowd squealed and Mexico-waved with de light.

Much have been written about the new “Gainsford” or “Michael Du Plessis” (simply Jean to Mrs. De Villiers) unearthed by WP but take it from this armchair critic, the young man can play. He moves around the field with consummate ease and has the air of confidence combined with sublime timing so often found in great players. Big praise you would say for a 22 year-old not even in the World Cup squad but then that is not his fault. It is true that in their first year of big rugby most young players are unknown quantities and usually get away with some audacious tricks before the opposition devises counters but this man has the talent to rise above it all. Jean will be ready to explode on the test world next year and just imagine the combination with Marius Joubert… salivating to say the least. 

The rest of the Currie Cup is providing great entertainment although the scores are high, players are learning to attack with the ball and reminiscent of the great Welsh sides of the seventies, will provide next year’s Springboks with valuable attacking skill. Ball protection is criticized and named as the major difference between South African teams and the pacesetters of world rugby like NZ, England and Australia but this is well-documented fact. How to resolve it is another matter, there are som e rudimentary torturing tricks that spring to mind but this should be one of the main focus points of a Director of Coaching, oops there is no such person, damn…

The Springboks beat the Cheetahs in a warm-up match last night and from all accounts, unfortunately I did not see the match, it was a mixed grill. Many writers lamented the poor defence that let to 4 Cheetahs tries but come now, be realistic – there is little to zero chance that anybody who has their World Cup breathable, huggable, cling wrap suit measured and tailored will chance the opportunity of missing the tournament by tackling a charging and snorting Os Du Randt! Get real! The highlights channel on DSTV replayed some nice attacking moves and with a much sharper looking Joost (my date with Kylie might yet materialize…!) the 25-1 odds, without being a betting man, are worth putting a 100 beer coupons on!

This weekend there is some more Currie Cup action with the pick of the games, the Lions versus WP at Ellis Park. Enjoy and support the game, live at the park!



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Consistently Inconsistent by Desmond Organ
There is nothing like a good weekend of rugby to get South Africans; including the media to generally change their pitch from a week before. Whilst the mainstream was focusing on the great rugby produced by Western Province and the Cheetahs, others were looking at the issues that continue to plague the national team. The supposed e-mails written to the de facto player’s representative tell of an environment in which trust is almost completely absent.

If I was a betting man, thankfully I am not; I would place a great deal of money on the fact that the players themselves are keeping their stories close to their chests for fear of being ostracised. Proclaiming such a position is hardly rocket science it is pure logic. Nothing in the rugby world could be clearer than the so-called lack of clarity that exists in the Springbok organization. I am not for a second claiming to have some wonderfully astute source embedded within the team, nor am I pretending to be a psychologist who speaks to the spirits of my ancestors. I am just somebody who reads every bit of information surrounding the game in South Africa in the hope that it will at best leave me with a balanced perspective.

The one form of analysis that at least provides objectivity is that of statistics, as displeasing as they may seem for some people and as manipulated as they are by protagonists of one form of argument or another, they do tell some truths. The Springbok squad for the World Cup revealed exactly that and if you consider the statistics surrounding several selections then there is in fact a great deal of truth to what I am about to say. That is that if there is one thing that is as clear as mud it is that the coach has displayed little or no consistency in selecting certain players. The arguments for and against certain selections fill the pages of chat rooms and that it not my intention. I am merely exposing the fact that it is the real threat to any form of success at the World Cup.

Players that were consistently members of the 22 players selected for the test series have been unceremoniously dumped without rhyme or reason. Others that should have been there in the first place are suddenly welcomed back into the fray, only to be potentially haunted by the lack of playing time at the highest level. Then there are those that suddenly make trips down under only to warm the benches of the Provincial teams to which they have returned. Some of these are due to rest but others are due to a wholly inadequate means of selection and of recording the criteria for selection. I remember with a sense of desperation the official responses from the communication portfolio that it was a case of this and a case of that; in reality they would do the old Bureau of State Security Proud. Information is often incorrect and so ludicrous that nobody believes it anyway.

What then was the purpose of the so-called strategically planned media briefing sessions that were delivered during the Super 12 and the Tri Nations. It all appears to be a bit of a charade and it is no wonder that players like Stuart Abbott declined an invitation to be part of Straeuli's military basic training camp. The shocking revelations about the initial training camp and the subsequent apologies from Messer’s Sam and Straeuli all but prove that consistency and accuracy is but a pipe dream. The revelations from the Communications desk are also quite alarming, since when do alleged incidents of biting and taping of match practices have anything to do with allegations of racism. Sounds like a bunch of kindergarten kids passing the buck.

We are all told that the nation should back the team to the hilt which invariably the majority will not do, not because there are not enough players of one colour or another but because it is incredibly difficult to believe anything that is said by the management and this unfortunately extends beyond the confines of the training camp to the boardrooms of SA Rugby and SARFU. One can only hope that the investigation that was so hastily called will be correctly defined in the New Year so that South Africa can return to their rightful position in the rugby world and return with a lot more integrity than what we have all become accustomed to.

Currie Cup Team of the Week





Conrad Jantjes



Chumani Booi



Rudi Coetzee



Jean De Villiers



John Mametsa

Blue Bulls


Kennedy Tsimba



Craig Davidson



Nico Breedt



Gerrie Britz



Gerhard Vosloo



Charl van Rensburg



Quinton Davids



Pat Barnard



Gary Botha

Blue Bulls


Guthro Steenkamp


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I don't know yet how we're going to bind (in the scrums), since it's difficult to get a good grip on the jerseys. Richard Bands 

We are desperate to do well. If we play to our potential, we are capable of beating any team but we have a healthy fear of the threat posed by others France, New Zealand, Ireland, Australia.     Jonny Wilkinson

The appalling lack of ability of Sarfu's top management structures has been the root cause of all rugby's problems.     Michael du Plessis 

The two warm-up games will give us the chance to have a look at all of the guys. Rudolf Straeuli

We will probably try to injure them and soften them up so it will make life easier for the Wallabies.    Tonga Lea'aetoa, Tongan prop on their pool match against New Zealand

The way we handled that shows that not only rugby
officials but the whole country is in denial about racism.     Zingisa Mkhuma, executive editor at the Star newspaper

We had a lot of fun and it wasn't the end of the world if we lost. Now things are a bit different.   David Campese

It's apparent that the players are afraid that Sarfu will act against them in terms of its highly controversial rule that players may not bring the game into disrepute.    Hennie Le Roux

Certain individuals are trying to create the impression that South African rugby is not being properly managed. Whilst SA Rugby is currently involved in a crisis that affects one part of its business this does not automatically make everything it does defective. People need to get their facts straight before they shoot from the hip. Anonymous "senior SA rugby official"

I think they can win it, I'm not going to say I'm confident they're going to win it.      Phil Kearns on Australia's chances

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Letters to the Editor
Hi Lucas

I am reading with interest your weekly letter documenting the build up to the World Cup 2003. We are continually hearing from your readers the problems and divisions that exist in rugby in South Africa at the present time. I am hopeful that the politics can be put aside and you can get on with the rugby in this important 2003 World Cup. This promises to be the greatest World Cup to date and as an Australian I would hate to see it tainted by political issues. 

Like South Africa, Australia has had a less than ideal build up to the 2003 World Cup but I am confident we can turn things around in time. The two favourites, England and New Zealand are playing some exceptional rugby but will they maintain the momentum right through the tournament? I am particularly looking forward to the South Africa v England game in Perth which will no doubt be your biggest test. As the host nation I think Australia stands a real chance and see no reason why South Africa should not enter this tournament with the same level of confidence. 

Looking forward to meeting with you and your colleagues in Sydney for the World Cup 2003! 

Richard Knight

Hi Lucas

Ek gaan my nie verwerdig om te reageer op die beledigings van Bernhard sonder Van nie; die trant van sy skrywe is selfgetuigend.

Ek wil hom egter net verlos van drie klaarblyklike wanindrukke waaronder hy verkeer, naamlik:

- ek het my "Springbok-groep" gekies VOOR die amptelike groep aangekondig is;
- vanselfsprekend ondersteun ek die gekose span, ongeag sy samestelling;
- daar is geen speler in die groep wat ek nie van "hou" nie, alhoewel ek steeds van mening is dat daar 'n aantal spelers is wat nie die groep gehaal het nie, maar in my opinie beter sou vaar by die toernooi. Noudat die span gekies is, ondersteun ek uiteraard die uitverkore spelers een en almal.


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