Editors Note


Volume 3, Week 36

Editors Note

Brilliant!          Well keel me over and tickle my belly with a feather, the World Cup is in full swing and what an opening weekend! The opening ceremony was well uuhmm interesting, the live player emulated by hundreds of kids was pretty cool but boy oh boy, George? What happened to the beautiful Ausie export and personal favourite, Kylie? Disappointed! 

The opening match was a bit of a let down and with all respect, boring. The Argies struggled in the tight phases and their hooker was particularly poor with his throw-ins. The much-vaunted bajada had very little effect and their flyhalf missed vital opportunities to keep them in the game. Frankly they were overawed and rattled by the occasion. The Australians did very well to win a match that was a potential ambush to their Cup aspirations. Wendell Sailor on attack is a magnificent player, and reminds me of my neighbour’s Staffie – all aggression and muscle. Larkham was superb and with his evasive running and beautiful distri bution looked like the match winner of a few seasons ago. However it is early days yet.

The All Blacks steamrollered over the Italian's second stringers and as expected recorded a large score, with almost Swiss like precision but the loss of Tana Umaga was a heavy price to pay. The Irish beat some pretty big looking Romanians comfortably and a pleasing aspect for this fan was the return of Keith Wood to the fold. The hooker is not only an inspirational figure but also a brilliant player that makes a huge difference to the side with other world-class player, Brian O'Driscoll.

The Fijians, displayed the beauty and the beast of rugby when Rupeni scored a brilliant try by simply accelerating past his opposite number, side stepping past the cover defence and striding to the line for the try of the tournament so far. A few minutes later he landed the best blow of the tournament and Olivier Magne can be glad his jaw was not made of Waterford crystal or his tournament would have been over. The Froggies were good despite some spirited islander defence and another personal favourite Dominici played quite beautifully. France is a dark horse, watch them and underestimate at your own peril!

The Springboks were very good, and my afore assessment of supporter frustration was unfounded. The scrums struggled a bit against the strong Uruguayan effort but the lineouts and loose forwards were superb. Big Joe might just be the find at no 6 but then who will do the dirty work and keep the Twickenham cameras busy if Corne’s omitted? Danie Rossouw had an excellent debut and his strength in the tackle coupled with some deft handling did wonders for continuity. Juan Smith is a great find, as much as this writer admires the gifts of one B. Skinstad, he might be forgotten sooner rather than later. Out wide, Jaque Fourie and Barry combined well, but apparently Fourie is out and injured, prompting yet another injury enforced midfield change! Joost was very good and look set to leave the world stage with a bang – as a critic of his play, it is about time J9!

England was also very good however, call it patriotic, call it one eyedness, call it desperation but there was enough errors in their play to encourage any Springbok supporter for this coming weekend’s clash. For the first time in a while, white jerseys were tackled back, balls were dropped and the squirting, Jack Russell style running of Jason Robertson looked a bit ineffectual at times. Desperation? Yes, maybe but the side who played against Georgia did not look unbeatable. 

Finally, Japan was again one of the great entertainers and their never-say-die attitude is a huge example for all the other teams at the RWC. Yes, there are many mismatches however I once recall losing a match against a brilliant Tukkies under 20 side with more than 50 points and I thoroughly enjoyed playing against a superb and masterful side containing skill, pace and power. Also, lessons were learnt and ambitions and goals set for the future – see what a good hiding did to Jonny Wilkinson after his first tour down under. The point of having separate pools is a valid one, strength vs. strength will make sense but there will be fewer spectacular tries, no warm-up matches and the World Cup not a true world cup.

Now, to THE CLASH, there is only one match this weekend, and it has arguably the star billing of all the Cup pool matches. The Springboks vs. England. There is heart and there is mind. Heart is easy, the Springboks will win the match, as each South African historically believes is almost their divine right. The mind, well usually it is a total different story than the heart but here we go, on record; the Springboks will win this match. Why? It is their World Cup final. The English are in Oz to win the whole skebang, the Springboks are so focused on their goal of beating England that I fear the France/All Blacks ’99 scenario will repeat itself. France was spent in their semi and Australia rolled them over like a kitten. I may be wrong however the results of the schizo-Boks over the past few years suggest that they ar e capable of winning a big game but then lose the plot it straight afterwards. England have consistently beaten the best, they will regard a defeat, although under enormous pressure, as a temporary hiccup and continue in their quest. Can SA do the same? I fear not. If they do what a brilliant surprise!

Whatever transpires or the result , Saturday will be a huge day for Springbok rugby – congregate and support, they need it!!



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Hold Your Horses by Desmond Organ
The biggest sporting event of the year kicked off in what some are referring to as unspectacular fashion, what with the farcical glorification of an indigenous population who have if anything been robbed of their ancestral home. Follow this up with the jeering of the Australian Prime Minister and the rather unattractive waltzing across the pitch by John Eales and you certainly do not have the greatest Rugby World Cup opening ceremony. At least it was better than the Cricket World Cup opening ceremo ny earlier this year. 

As much as I admire the efforts of the ARU and IRB in putting together the world spectacle you almost get the feeling that something had better change very quickly. Barley mentioned in the bars of Perth, unable to make the back sports page of several leading English newspapers and you have to begin to think that there is a lot of work to be done before teams outside the top six become realistic contenders.

The sensationalist reports from several journalists had me wondering if this was not the Australian version of Wag the Dog. The performances from the Irish, Scottish and Welsh left a lot to be desired. Let’s face it the Boks, English and All Blacks dispatched their opposition in far more clinical fashion. Uruguay is every bit as good as Japan, Canada and Rumania and yet the home unions were unable to make a clinical start to their campaign. 

The most entertaining match despite the score line was the Italy versus All Blacks encounter. The All Blacks showed such clinical execution that you have to begin to wonder if anybody outside of France, England and Australia have a realistic chance of beating them. There are very few betters supporting a possible upset by the Boks and so I will follow the trend and consider SA as rank outsiders. The only element of surprise might well be delivered by one off acts of brilliance along the lines of th e French victory in the semi finals in 1999.

The other element of unacceptable reality is the number of players from the Southern Hemisphere plying their trade in some of the lesser teams. This points to only one thing, there are far too many players from the powerhouses in the Southern Hemisphere who are not good enough for their national sides and so they ply their trade overseas. That is not to say that the likes of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, France and Australia are at fault in manipulating ancestry, but rather that the best playe rs from less developed nations are not remaining at home and so they are not becoming role models for the youth in that country.

I believe that the IRB has got to ensure the development of the game beyond record breaking television rights and start ensuring that the teams outside the top six become realistic contenders. If they fail to do this the Rugby World Cup will remain the third biggest sporting event with the most unbalanced level of competition. Any number of nations has the ability to win the Football World Cup and this is what the IRB has got to look at. Perhaps after all the English recommendation for a two tier c ompetition is the right way to go. 

It is those very television rights that are preventing Argentina from entering the Tri Nations and something has got to be done in the next four years to ensure that they are included in an effective manner. The same could be said for the Pacific Island teams who seem to be barely surviving. Michael Jones has spoken out about the practice of luring Samoans to New Zealand and more people need to have the guts to say the same thing about several other offenders.

Currie Cup Team of the Week





Casper Steyn



Egon Seconds



Frikkie Welsh

Blue Bulls


JP Nel

Blue Bulls


Chris Kruger



Chris Rossouw



Ashieq Wise



Adrie Badenhorst



Piet Krause

Blue Bulls


Pietie Ferreira



Quinton Geldenhuys



Quinton Davids



Andries Human

Blue Bulls


James vd Walt



Ollie Le Roux


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It is the occasion for a month-long orgy of chauvinism and mime-show of war among nations.    JM Coetzee on the World Cup

Bok Incentives: R1,2-million each if tournament is won.

Defences are too sophisticated to wear down now. We conducted a study last year involving two sides who got to seven phases or more on 18 occasions and only two tries were scored. If you recycle and recycle you end up with fewer attackers than defenders because generally you need four blokes to win the ball and three to contest it.     Eddie Jones

It will not be a Boer war, nor any other war.     Gideon Sam, Springbok manager

It is about winning test matches, it is not about style.     Clive Woodward

I think that the Springboks have the capacity, well maybe not in terms of pure rugby, to beat England, I just think they have what might be described as old fashioned character.    Bob Dwyer

This match is bigger and more intense than any since the last World Cup.     Martin Johnson

Saturday will require a cool head, not a hot head. The Boks can win, but it will require an extraordinary effort. Nick Mallett

In the build-up to the match, Mike Catt had made the mistake of saying that Francois Pienaar was an average player. Pienaar screamed at him in Afrikaans from the back of every lineout, and you didn't need to be a linguist to catch his drift. We were well beaten that day.      Lawrence Dalaglio on the SA Eng test in 1995 at Twickenham

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Letters to the Editor
Hi Lucas


This weekend will be marked in green on the calendars of all Springbok supporters. The moment of truth at Perth. We came a far journey since last year when England downed a team destroyed through injury, pride, and a red card. Only Werner, Breyten, Joe and Corne are the leftovers from that tragedy. 

I would just like to say that I have the utmost respect for the Boks. They have been through tough journeys the past two years. I think their build-up has been great, and I really think they can beat England if they really play with their hearts and with 100% focus.

It all depends on if they can keep a momentum like the one we saw against New Zealand in Dunedin earlier this year. And if the English get frustrated, just like Australia, they will start to play psychological games to force yellow or even red cards again. We all know how much they really hate us. Most of them suffered us at the '99 World Cup. 

All the best, and may Saturday be an EverGreen day for all South Africans!!!!

Herman, Pretoria

Hi Lucas

Sa v Eng

Top effort on the News Letter!!!!

E-Day dawns. No more fence sitting. 

Predictions: Sa 36 Eng 19.

Joost - not the captain; but get the impression he is key to a winning attitude.

Yes Eng have thrashed us before. Yes SA record of late is ridiculous - but so would any teams be given the ineptitude of the administrators, selectors and Management (lack of) combined with a coach "learning on the job" and all the political clowning around that goes with the new SA.

IF SA play 100% & Eng play 100% : SA Will win.

Will we play 100% though?? - judging from Joost's attitude - You better believe it!!!


PS: Tha I don't believe SA can beat the best - time to stop watching rugby.

Hi Lucas

Wêreldbeker geen maatstaf

Die eerste rondte van die Wêreldbeker het vir my getoon dat dit nie tot voordeel van rugby is nie. Ek sou liewer krag-teen-krag wil sien. Die tellings wat die afgelope wedstryde behaal was is eintlik skandes wat gemaak word. 

Hoe motiveer jy die kleiner lande verder, nadat hulle die een dragslae na die ander kry ? Nee kyk, die IRB is nie besig om rugby te bevorder soos dit hoort nie. Ek stel voor die wêreld se top 12 spanne moet meeding om die gesogte beker, en daar moet 'n ander beker geskep word waar die jong onervare rugbylande speel, met 'n moontlike promosie-relegasie aan die einde. Hoe motiveer ek my span wat nou 84-6 verloor, om die Springbokke aan te vat??

Soos dit nou gaan, begin die werklike kompetisie eers wanneer bepaal word wie speel in die kwart-eindwedstryde, en dit is verkeerd. Daar moet van dag een kompetisie wees, gesonde kompetisie.

Das Villoen

Hi Lucas


Ek kyk nogal met groot pret en lekkerte na die toernooi wat nog net 4 dae oud is. Ek weet nie of jy nog van my vorige korrespondensie het nie maar ek hou nog steeds vol dat Roelfie 'n haas uit die hoed gaan trek. Ek glo weer die Engelse ly aan verwaandheidswaansin en gaan 'n skok op die lyf loop. Ek glo ook aan die storie, " cometh the man cometh the hour" of is dit andersom. Weet nie maar ek is vol hoop en vertoue.

Sterkte aan Roelfie en sy span. 
Chrisjan X

Hi Lucas

Onwaarskynlik ja, maar onmoontlik, NEE. Dit is hoe 'n oorwinning oor Engeland opgesom kan word. Gegewe natuurlik dat die speelveld gelyk is wat die man met die fluitjie en sy twee handlangers betref, anders kan dit 'n lang dag wees. Ou Paddy het verlede Saterdag weer sy ware kleure gewys met die laat laagvat op Hougaard. Nie eens 'n strafdoel of waarskuwing nie. Ek wonder wat dink Jannes Labuschagne daarvan. Kom ons hoop op 'n regverdige hantering van die komende stryd.

Dit gaan nie maklik wees teen Engeland nie en heel moontlik ook nie aanskoulik nie, maar dinge kan dalk witwarm raak, veral wanneer die Bokke hopelik 'n paar liederlike aanvallende duikslae uitvoer en die spel vinnig maak en punte toe speel. Hulle moet net nie vergeet om eers die basiese dinge reg uit te voer nie.

Wie weet, die Bokke kan dalk net die verrassing van die jaar optower. Nie onmoontlik nie.

Koos Carelse

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