Editors Note


Volume 5, Week 2

Editors Note

Brilliant!     And there we all thought that ‘Fortress’ Twickenham was impregnable… well it damn well was before some page boy opened the gates to allow the French hordes to clutch victory from the jaws of defeat. More accurate, it was a case of England snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. 

Thanks to DSTV front row seats of the action, this was one of the more bizarre rugby matches witnessed by this ‘well weathered’ observer in a while especially involving England and France. The French were poor; in fact at one stage they posed a far bigger threat to the health of commentator Eddie Butler than any of the England players. Butler’s ‘thoughtless’ siding with the ‘enemy’ in his attempt at impartial commentating drove co-commentator, Brian ‘Pitbull’ Moore to an apoplexy. Yet they won.

Due to the excellent efforts of Dimitri Yachvili and Paddy O’Brien’s penalties, the French not only remained in touch but beat England through better goal kicking. It is ironic that the team who won the World Cup via superior goal kicking (OK and a few other factors too) should lose in this fashion. Jonny Wilkinson, all agree will make a massive difference but it seems that the great depth of barely 2 years ago have gone missing. There are a lot of injuries, granted however most teams and certainly the Springboks have struggled with this bogey for years. It is, for a change, good to see the shoe on the other foot. 

The Six Nations trophy is now a very open race and 3 teams are unbeaten and of the lot, Ireland definitely looks the part. Wales, to their great credit has improved impressively and remain contenders however the consistency in team selection of Eddie Sullivan and the individual brilliance of the Irish team make them heads on favourites to win. France is in a bit of disarray after the hefty thumping by New Zealand last year and Laporte has lost confidence in certain players. His patient team constru ction of a few years ago is gone and with it the famous French flair and his forte – discipline. All will be revealed in two week’s time when Ireland play England and France play Wales. 

Readers will know by now that Dawid Britz, the Stormer’s hooker failed a drug test. A lot has been written and most questions his IQ for even attempting something like that in this day and age. Well, if the steroid was designed to help his throwing into the lineout, this pained observer certainly has a little bit of sympathy. The big hooker was frequently turned into a shivering wreck whenever an opposition player kicked the ball into touch and he was required to throw in the ball in front of 30,00 0 baying fans… and found the flyhalf.

The Super 12 will kick off next week and already there are plenty of column inches devoted to the local teams chances. As per norm, this ‘draadsitter’ or ‘fence sitter’ will only make his predictions after the first round… it is a perilous affair to predict any of the top 4 based on pre season hype. So let the games begin!

A rugby joke, apologies to our international readers its unfortunately in Afrikaans with no hope of translation… “Jannie is besig met sy huiswerk. Hy bel sy ouma en vra: Hoe spel 'n mens boks? Ouma: Boks is 'n anglisisme, 'n mens sê doos. Jannie skryf toe : Ek hou baie meer van doos as van rugby.”



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Slippery Slope by Desmond Organ
If recent reports are to be considered reliable; then the changing face of World rugby is about to enter the realm of rankings and their level of accuracy. Based on what we all witnessed at the weekend England are sixth and South Africa third and yet we have still not beaten the World champions since 2000. Ireland and Wales stand to gain the most from the first two weeks of the Six Nations and Scotland and Italy continue to stagnate.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect is Scotland’s slide down the rankings, at this rate they will be ranked below Fiji and then who knows what comes next. This may seem strange in the context of a gallant performance against France; but it is all to clear if you consider the manner in which the Irish disposed of their Celtic counterparts. For five minutes it appeared as if the resurgence in Paris was going to take another step in the right direction; eighty minutes later there was even more reason to disband the coach’s private viewing enclosure on the basis that you needed more seats to increase the size of the press core and so increase attendance.

England produced what must be forty minutes of the worst rugby seen since the seven eight nil drubbing all those years ago down under. Woodward is either a genius or a man with an appetite for a new challenge, what he has left behind is a legacy that is fast disappearing under Robinson. Truthfully speaking it could have been quite different and a few points would see England at the top and France at the bottom. The reality of the matter is that the team that wins is the team that is remembered and th is is especially so in situations where there is a close score. France have scraped together two wins with team sheets that do not resemble the force that won the whole thing a year ago.

The mercurial French are always hard to predict and just like a few years ago where they lost Provincial games in South Africa they are proving very able at grinding out victories in the strangest of circumstances. If they win their next encounter then you can bet a fair deal of money that they might just take the whole thing. They have been there before and others who aspire to the same levels of grandeur are loitering in the seventies and earlier periods of the twentieth century. France will be a m uch better team with the return of several key players and perhaps it is a bit ironic that it was the French that were the terriers and the English that were the villains. 

As a fanatical fan it is indeed quite disappointing to see England resorting to cheap tactics in situations where a year ago they might have got away with it. Grewco-ck was lucky to avoid a red a week ago and on Saturday it was left to the Sky commentators and Martin Johnson to give approval to what was a cheap shot by Martin Corry. Let us cast our thoughts back to a few seasons ago when Wilkinson was the victim and a South African the offender, my case rests on this one. It is hard to see a revival without the likes of Richard Hill, Mike Tindall and Wilkinson himself. This team just has not got the combinations right and quite frankly the loose trio that dominated just a few years ago are becoming a distant memory.

Ireland and Wales stepped up to another level after pulsating opening encounters and in many ways the opposition who were competitive a week earlier could not sustain their enthusiasm for two consecutive weeks, it takes a class team to perform on back to back weekends and depth of player base and familiarity amongst the combinations are proving to once again be critical yardsticks. It is only the French that have been able to win despite several player and combination changes.

The France vs. Wales encounter is going to be a cracker, the French will probably dominate possession and the Welsh will attack with the flair and passion of French teams of the last decade. England versus Ireland is crucial, a loss for Ireland may well see the wheels fall off their Six Nations challenge, I cannot see England losing three in a row, if it does happen there might be a few resumes doing the rounds.

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It's a step in the right direction. If a guy is coming down for business and he wants to attend a game he can buy his ticket at a Shoprite Checkers store in Sandton for example. This system is going to be introduced nationwide. CEO of WP Rugby, Rob Wagner

The ability to get pissed and fall down is regarded as rite of passage both in New Zealand and Australia.   Former All Black manager Andrew Martin, slams the binge-drinking culture, which he believes is ingrained in New Zealand rugby

I reckon we should have at least one import per Super 14 side, I remember the days of Ian Botham and Viv Richards playing cricket for Queensland, and how that worked. You've got to keep creating something.  Wallabies selector Tim Horan

You have to write last week off. England could not play as badly again if they tried. We didn't dominate any facet of the game (against Wales), but I've not been one to sulk for too long. For me it's a distant memory, you have to look forward.        Graham Rowntree before the test against France.....

I'm not a homosexual but I realise now that I loved Clive Woodward.        Bernard Laporte 

We showed some ambition, what did France create today? They didn't create anything against a well-organized defense.         Andy Robinson, England coach

We created a victory.              Dave Ellis, French defensive coach...

Charlie Hodgson had six place-kicks at goal and hit five perfectly. Three of his six goalkicks went over, three did not. A blustery day affected the flight of the ball. That's true for Olly too.       Jonny wilkinson

I have had enough of hearing about the Martin Johnson era - as much as I love him - and the World Cup era.        Graham Rowntree

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Hi Lucas

Man ek is bly jy is terug! Dis nou die een publikasie per week waarna ek baie uitsien en Donderdagaande is my tyd om rugby te lees, te dink en soms ook bietjie te skryf, soos nou.

Eerstens moet ons al ons S12 spanne sê, "Alle sterkte manne! mag dit vanjaar baie goed met julle almal gaan. Mag die beseringspook vir hierdie jaar uit die SA spanne bly. Ek hou duimvas vir 2 halfeindstryde tussen 4 SA spanne en 'n finaal op eie bodem!"

Was dit nou nie 'n wonderlike ding wat die Walliesers aangevang het nie! Ek het jare laas 'n wedstryd, hoe saai ookal by tye, soveel geniet. Die lekkerste was toe die eindfluitjie blaas en die manne met die wittruie aan se koppe hang. Ek het lekker gekry van my kroontjie tot my klein-toontjie! Nou moet die ander sogenaamde buiteperde net voortbou daarop. Dink net hoe lekker gaan dit wees as Engeland totaal uit die bus val. Haatlik van my, nê? Maar dis hoe ek voel al sedert 1899. Nee, eintlik al vanaf 1795. Ek hou die Engelse verantwoordelik vir alles wat in enige van die kolonies dwars oor die wêreld verkeerd gegaan het.

Maar om terug te kom na die gebeure doer in Wallis. Kyk, mag die liewe Vader gee dat ek nooit ooit só bly sal wees dat die Bokke gewen het nie. Al is dit in die finaal van die 2007 wêreldbeker teen Engeland. Daardie 26-jarige Walsman is seker vreeslik spyt oor wat hy aangevang het. Dink net hoeveel uitstekende rugbyspelers uit sy nageslag kon gekom het om die Engelse vir geslagte lank op te voeter. Nou sal dit nooit gebeur nie, want hy kan nie. SHAME!

Vooruitskouings vir die komende seisoen het huidiglik geen waarde nie. Elke span moet speel na die beste van sy vermoeë en elke speler moet elke wedstryd sy allerbeste 110% gee. Alleen dan sal mens teen die einde van die 4e, 5e of 6e week weet wie waar gaan kom. Selfs dan kan die bordjies nog in die laaste paar weke verhang word.

Aan almal wat in 2005 gaan kla oor die refs, kry André Watson se CD en bestudeer dit goed. Kom by en moenie moun nie. Aan almal wat vreeslik provinsialisties (Streekgebonde ondersteuners) is, hou dit vir die dae wat jou streek teen 'n ander SA streek speel, andersins, staan agter al 4 ons spanne. Eintlik moet mens net die Bokke ondersteun en die res van die rugby kritites geniet. Dit stel mens eerstens instaat om langer gesond te bly en nie aan hartversaking, -aanvalle, beroertes ensovoorts blootgest el te wees nie. En tweedens kan jy dalk die denke agter die keuses vir die Bokspan beter verstaan en nie eenogig, provinsialisties kies nie.

Kys de Wet

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