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|Volume 2, Week 14
|Brilliant! Since my
early days of watching rugby there were only three teams that mattered, in
no particular order of preference, the Springboks, the Springboks and the
Springboks - the same I would gather for any patriotic Ausie, Kiwi,
Englishman, Frog - you get the picture. The current state of affairs in
the Super 12 and indeed in world rugby renders me nostalgic to the good
old laager mentality, us against all of them. Hey, whom am I kidding? It
is us against all of them – our attitude however is not Laager but “Light”
and this may just be the problem.
The Springbok trials and the international season has already become the focus sans any contention in the Super 12 semi finals. The focus of Rudolf Straeuli to return to good old Springbok values must not in my opinion be interpreted as a return to the archaic rugby of the previous decades where massive packs with the likes of Rudi Visagie, Kobus Wiese et al were scrumming, scrumming and murdering opposition packs with brute strength. No sir, for one we do not have these specimen any longer and two the heavy packs in the Super 12 were turned into clay. Mr Straeuli, will look to rekindle the dogged determination and will so much evident of our soiled past.
There may not be any political point left to prove to the rest of the world with a laager mentality but in order to focus on winning tests beginning with Wales it is imperative that the Springboks adopt the Ostrich philosophy to combine with the laagerism. Be damned the Brumbies style, be damned the English efficiency, be damned the French élan, be damned the Kiwi intimidation factor – we must put our heads in the ground, South African ground and play South African rugby.
Rudolf I dare say is not a fool and he is well aware of South African strengths and shortcomings, one of the biggest deficiencies in the last three years was a loss of identity. The Springbok camaraderie and “gees” existed and heaven knows how far we would have lost without it but by returning back to traditional Springbok values he will aim to take that “gees” and build a game plan to the strengths of the current crop of players. With the horse in front of the cart, the fundamentals will be; values including discipline, a game plan including basics all of this based on the fit personnel available.
One of the most welcoming announcements was to replace the annual training camp at the millionaire’s playground with the Police College in Pretoria, since we are returning to war and it is war the pampered millionaires will be out of their comfort zone ready for some graft. Straeuli has a lot of graft to do; he is not the kind to shirk his responsibility as a few RAU students found out to their detriment during an intervarsity weekend at Tukkies many years ago but that is a story for another time.
To accomplish his mission of restoring SA pride, yes restoring because its lost he needs the right personnel, some may be just back from injury but within a squad the likes of Corne Krige, Mark Andrews, AJ Venter and Bullet Dalton amongst the forwards will instill enough mongrel and discipline to the young ones forgetful of the reason why they are paid huge sums of money. The backs or “girls” need to rediscover the reason why men like Andre Vos bleed every match to win the ball and utilize possession effectively and more importantly not give it away.
In short that is how I hope a return to the original values as advocated by the lawyer, Mr. Straeuli should be interpreted.
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|"Time to Bite the Bullet?" by Tom Marcellus
|Being a runt of the litter, I often had to endure torment at
the hands of the grizzled matric boys at high school; fellows who were
invariably unwashed farmers' sons from such exotic places as Kokstad,
Underberg and Umbogintwini. Not having the misfortune of being in the
hostel, I and my other day-boy mates, dribbling mommy's boys without
exception, were special targets for these hulking greybeards, and despite
our best endeavours to skulk away from their heavy trod, many a
lunch-break was spent enduring the wrath of these goggle-eyed
As we survey the international scene with but days to go before the Bok trials, it is quite apparent that a number of spots in the starting XV remain open to determined late-comers. The position of flyhalf is, as always, the source of eager debate, as amateur aficionados around the country offer their 10 cents worth of advice to Rudolf and his beleaguered assistants.
But a replacement for Butch James, Braam van Straaten & Co will be but one part of the brain-numbing jigsaw puzzle that Straeuli will have to assemble, and having more than a passing interest in the shenanigans that go on at the bottom of loose racks, I have one question: Who will replace Lukas van Biljon, that Bullocking Juggernaut?
As is evident from the opening paragraph of this article, it sometimes physically pains me to sing the praises of those rugby players who, surely, behaved in much the same brutal fashion as the tormentors of my youth. Muller, Louw, Pelser, and, in more recent times, Krige, all seem to display the hallmarks of the proverbial hardman of the playground, but despite this occasionally anti-social/homicidal streak, these luminaries have never been short of admirers, including this humble correspondent.
The selection of the replacement of Van Biljon, however, gives rise to a moral dilemma of some magnitude, for, having at length pondered the possible replacements, I have reached the melancholic conclusion that only one fellow will do. Rough, tough and selfish, he has spent much of the last 10 years in the public eye, charging into loose malls, rucking prostrate opponents, and generally sewing misery and mayhem wherever he goes. Having learnt valuable life skills down amidst the murky depths of the loose ruck, not to mention behind the change-rooms at the erstwhile Jeppestown Grammar School, he is the perfect specimen to once again don the Bok number 2 jersey and charge headlong into battle. With his shaved head, bulging torso, demonic smile, and larger-than-life persona, James "Bullet" Dalton certainly has added lustre to the long line of rugged Springbok hookers.
Now aged 29, a mere umfaan in frontrow terms, Dalton appears ready to once again wear the Green 'n Gold in anger on distant fields. Once infamous throughout the rugby world for his often "unconventional" methods, the Bullet, by his own admission, is in his dotage playing the game with the zest that he often displayed during his occasionally misspent youth, all those years ago. One wonders whether the passage of time has caused this former much-feared rabble-rouser to re-examine his rugger legacy and, perhaps, to mellow with age.
With enemy hordes filling the horizon, the answer is "Hell, I hope not".
|Super What? by Desmond Organ
As we approach the final weekend of South African
participation in the Super 12, many people will realise that this is the
first year that South African teams have no role to play in the final
four. The protagonists of doom will latch onto the words of Ella and
Connelly. The optimists will say that the injuries and schedule are to
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|The Final Weekend by Mark Foster
The standings on the log after 11 matches of the Super 12
emphasized once again what a brilliant competition it is. Two teams have
qualified with home semi-finals and six are completely out of the running.
The remaining two semi-finalists could be any of four teams; incidentally
those four teams are involved in matches against each other! The final
weekend promises to be one of the most exciting in years and for the
Blues, Reds, Brumbies and Highlanders the stakes are enormous.
|Super 12 Log
Rugby Forum Super 12 XV
Rugby Forum Springbok XV
1. Bill Young (Brumbies)
|1. Daan Human
2. James Dalton (Bulls)
3. Faan Rautenbach (Stormers)
4. Victor Matfield (Bulls)
5. Hottie Louw (Stormers)
6. Corné Krige (Stormers)
7. A.J. Venter (Sharks)
8. Andre Vos (Cats)
9. Johannes Conradie (Stormers)
10. Andre Pretorius (Cats)
11. Pieter Rossouw (Stormers)
12. De Wet Barry (Stormers)
13. Marius Joubert (Stormers)
14. Breyten Paulse (Stormers)
15. Percy Montgomery (Stormers)
|When you live in England you do not pay for things in rands,
you pay for everything in pounds. Songezo Nayo
There is frequent changing of coaches at national level. Nothing seems to change. Robbie Kempson
If the making of bags of money is the sole driver of decision makers at international level then I, for one, feel disillusioned. Nick Farr-Jones
After being tackled by a schoolboy spectator in a match against the Chiefs - Ah, it’s all right mate – he got a good hit on me. George Gregan
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