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|Volume 2, Week 25
|Brilliant! What to write? The
Springboks suffered another defeat and worse they lost the fight! It might
be an opportune moment to congratulate Ernie Els with his magnificent
victory in the British Open or Frantz Kruger with his gold medal at the
Commonwealth Games but that would be dodging the issue - this is after all
a rugby publication, so let’s go, a la Greeff style - head on!
The defeat against the world champions was by no means a setback to the young Springbok side and the overwhelming vibe is a positive one. The opening stanza was horrific and totally contrary to the previous week’s shotgun start. The Australians were superb on attack and their try from first phase was awesome, incidentally the try scorer was Ben Tune, subject of an international “drug debate”. Probenecid or whatever, it was excellent finishing skills and the other two “musketeers” Latham and Mortlock scored strong tries.
The poor Springboks were nowhere to be found and it looked like they were going to be on the receiving end of a drubbing to rival the 1997 Pretoria match! But as it transpired, “seconds from the ring, roooooound number one, ding!” and a decent fistfight changed the face of the game not to mention Krige’s. Fighting on a rugby field is not to be condoned at any stage, however in this case similar to a certain 99 call in 1974, it had an positive effect on the team.
The Springboks it seemed required a few good “klaps” before they produced their best rugby! Pity the stupid misdemeanors of Dalton and Skinstad happened before the hargybargy otherwise it was an easy Springbok victory! Bygones! The Australians played very well and they deserved a victory for making the least mistakes, capitalizing on opposition errors and backing themselves in tense situations.
The focus of the Springboks for the next two weeks should be the total elimination of stupid penalties i.e. Dalton and Skinstad should be wired to an electric current expelling an uncomfortable enough voltage around the nether regions should they think of dwelling off-side or slapping the ball out of the opposing player’s hands! Defence coach Kiss must do his thing and kicking coach Naas must try and do what he can, expect no miracles. For the rest, it’s a team game, “Everyone, get the ball to Marius and Brent!”
The coming weekend could be the Tri-Nation’s decider, an All Black victory will seal the trophy and probably more important for them the Bledisloe Cup. The Springboks and supporters will be hoping for an Australian victory but somehow the All Blacks look more focused and committed this year, hopefully the match will rival the 2000 spectacle for quality.
The Currie Cup, South Africa’s premier domestic competition is in its second round, with each team having played at least one match. Two teams with strong early claims are the perennial favourites and the past two year’s finalists, WP and the Sharks. The latter played an exciting brand of rugby to demolish the poor Eagles in Durban and the young Rudi Keil, Albert van den Bergh and Deon Kayser looked sharp. In Cape Town, WP was too strong for the Griffons and one of the outstanding performers was Chris Rossouw. “Klein Chips” produced a full bag of tricks and his distribution of the ball was sublime, other good performers were Hottie Louw and Quintin Daniels.
A very encouraging sight after watching some of the highlights from the other matches is the emergence of young talent, across the board. A lot of the old “geezers” have departed to Europe but their replacements are making the step up and with such talented U/21 players around, hopefully the new coaching structures continue to produce brilliant and exciting young players for the national team. The trick and Kevin Putt is a good example, is to mix and match emerging with existing and imported talent. Experience can be bought!
Enjoy the game and good luck to Chester and his Sevens team in Manchester.
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|Nothing Like Nostalgia by Desmond Organ
|There’s no place like home; braaivleis, rugby, sunny
skies and Chevrolet. As I sit here in front of the keyboard contemplating
the events of the past week I cannot help but feel that South Africans are
more often than not the victims of an unsympathetic world. Whether it is
the match fixing in cricket, the nibbling habits of rugby players or the
actions of match officials; we really do have a hard time trying to live
up to the high standards that the world has so rightly set for
One cannot deny the injustices of the past, but along with those come the passions of a people who really know what it means to be passionate about your country. Those of us sitting at the game at the Gabba or those of us glued to a bar stool in some far flung corner of the world watching the Springboks strut their stuff have a right to feel proud and to know what it means. We all have memories that are etched into the back of our minds, the perennial trips to Kings Park, Loftus and Newlands or wherever the local team played.
Saturday would have had many of us analyzing the game to somewhat idiotic proportions; the reason for doing it is something that many others who are not sports mad will not easily understand. But it is often the simpler things in life that can bring us real joy. I have often held the opinion that New Zealanders and South Africans are too obsessed with the game of rugby. Well a few years away from home have taught me that there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. It has all the ingredients of the human psyche; passion, anger and most importantly, uncontrollable joy. The obsession that the Australians have with beating their closest rivals and the lengths that they will go to achieve it has revealed to me that they are every bit as nostalgic as the rest of us.
No matter what the final score was on Saturday or the final outcome of this series, there will always be next year’s game and the ones that came before. It is as simple as walking down the street after a game and a few cold ones; you come across an innocent fireman enjoying the early afternoon summer sun. Poor fellow happens to have the looks of a famous rugby player. No sooner than the familiarity is communicated and he is being told that he resembles a hero, a player who is without equal. Laughter, communication and there are suddenly three young women in the front seat of a fire engine.
The rest of the rugbyholics are rapidly explaining what marvelous technique and skills the nostalgic hero has displayed in front of the whole world. A quick explanation of the rules, the best way to win and the undeniable joy of a victory are amazingly communicated to a person who may never have played the game or witnessed its sheer majesty. Invitations and future travel itineraries are rapidly discussed and as the group moves on in search of the next pit stop to refill their batteries, they are already thinking about something else to harp on about.
You soon find yourself feeling less shattered and perhaps a little less buoyant about the recent result. The key factor here being whether or not you have a few past victories in your memory that are not too distant. It is however, the camaraderie that is kindled amongst people of different origins and backgrounds that is the real victor.
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|Brisbane Blues by Mark Foster
Australia 38 South Africa 27
The world champions stunned a confident looking Springbok outfit with a scintillating opening 30-minute blitzkrieg. Tries by Tune, Mortlock and Latham assisted by some poor Springbok defence put the Wallabies in a commanding 24-3 lead. The South Africans looked for all money like lambs led to slaughter but an unlikely event changed the fortunes of the young team and their supporters.
A mass brawl sparked by an initial late tackle by Werner Greeff on Chris Latham was the turning point after everyone including this reporter thought the Springboks could not recover from the huge deficit. Anyway in a comeback to rival Lazarus’ the young Boks rallied with some incredible tries from counter attacks to run the Wallabies close, only to throw it away in the dying seconds of a pulsating match.
The Springboks had a mixed day at the office, penalties at the ruck and maul situation is a serious problem, as a matter of fact it is a match losing quandary and if not eradicated by the management the first Tri-Nation’s victory will remain elusive.
The referee, Mr Lander was under intense scrutiny and appeared (initially) to have a good match, he was mostly consistent but on further investigation made a couple of disappointing errors which are worth re-visiting. This is not pro or con for any team, purely law application:
a. The tackler has no offside rule, in other words if you tackle a man with the ball you can play the ball from any angle if on your feet. Result? Turnover.
b. Slapping the ball from a scrumhalf's hands at rucks are regarded as “Acts contrary to good sportsmanship”. Result? A penalty kick and repeat offenders can be yellow-carded.
c. Playing the ball off your feet in a ruck is not allowed. Result? A penalty kick.
The Englishman contrived to make this a spectacle, and it was however these rules are basics and if a top official are unable to apply them, where is the game going to from here?
Let us have a look at the Springboks' play…
The phase was satisfactory, lineouts were very good and Victor Matfield made a timely comeback to his previous year’s poaching form, Skinstad’s use in this department is invaluable and generally Dalton’s throwing in is consistent. The re-starts are a mess and the Springboks miss the “commanding presence” of a Mark Andrews when receiving and the need to compete with conviction on their own, they seem to run along for a jolly good go - ho, ho, ho - it is not good enough. The scrums were strong enough but no real dominance was exerted over the Australian pack.
The Wallabies in the form of George Smith once again showed the value of a class fetcher, Krige was occupied with too much of the hard graft to truly compete with Smith on a one-to-one basis. The point of breakdown was the kingdom of the dreadlocked wonder. The Springboks counter-attacking skills are reminiscent of a certain 1986 backline when players like Gerber and Du Plessis achieved legendary status. The Springbok tries arose from unbelievable broken play running from the likes of Paulse, Russel, Joubert, Skinstad and van Niekerk, it is a pity that one of the late 1990’s best attackers, Stefan Terblanché has lost all the guile demonstrated by his colleagues.
The backline was superb in broken play as mentioned however the defence patterns are not up to speed, the Wallabies are arguably the best exponents of the loop, cut out and skip and they easily rounded the defence for Tune’s opening try. Ragged tooth defence again cost the Springboks and somebody should decide for Terblanché who he must tackle, letting both players through in a two on one situation does not help. Pieter Rossouw’s answer was the intercept and he perfected it to a fine art – current players do not have his luck or “vision”. The backline can only improve and once they settle with a more experienced half back combo, they will be deadly!
15. Werner Greeff - 7
The “firestarter” to paraphrase the Prodigy played another excellent running and defensive game, his aerial skills are magnificent and led to a try however the one criticism of the previous weeks remain – kicking. A kicking coach needs to work with the Springboks.
14. Stefan Terblanché – 4.5
The Shark stalwart did not play well and to list all his stuff ups with only lead to further embarrassment. He is not up to international level at the moment.
13. Marius Joubert - 8
The new “doring van Despatch” played superbly and his running with the ball in hand was electrifying! More importantly, he found the try line. His defence was more solid and he has conspired to keep his tackling lower and harder. The best Springbok on display.
12. De Wet Barry - 6
Barry defended well on most occasions and his lovely grubber off set Bob Skinstad’s try. He is a hard and straight runner and compliments well with Joubert.
11. Breyten Paulse - 7
The little man from the “Koue Bokkeveld” played a very good match and was full of running, his vision on the counter was awesome and his trusted left boot will come more and more into play with decent balls and altitude! A satisfying return to the big time.
10. André Pretorius – 5.5
The young man’s had a baptism of fire and there are a few weak points emanating from this game, his passing under pressure was not good although the last pass of the match may have gone astray due to incorrect running angle from Jacobs. The kicking was crucial and he unfortunately missed a few and his kicking from hand was very average and of modest distance. His defence is still suspect, he can only slow the attacker down and not stop him in his tracks. The home leg will show what he is made of, one Butch James will be breathing down his neck.
9. Johannes Conradie - 6
Ditto the above baptism of fire for Conradie, he played very well under circumstances however was caught in possession too often through unnecessary sideway running. It is a good skill to create space out wide but as said before, your backline must be aware of your running angles to capitalize on the space.
8. Bob Skinstad - 7
Bob played very well and his linking game and lineout prowess is excellent. There is one grave concern and that is his repeat offending at mauls. He is now a marked player in this regard and need to back away from the spoiling, unsportsmanlike role he assumed this season – he will be carded soon. His try was brilliant and his distribution skills created the move, a satisfactory match.
7. Joe van Niekerk – 7.5
Big Joe is developing into a very, very good international - it is clear from his play, the strong running and positional play that he is a natural no 8 and it will probably benefit the team to see him and Skinstad switch positions.
6. Corné Krige (captain) – 6.5
Krige had a tough time countering arguably the best in the business, Smith – but his valiant defence and in your face play was strong and once again he worked like a demon. It seems like his ideal playing partner is Hendrik Gerber and the two compliment each other magnificently hence Krige’s outstanding Super 12 form. The same cannot be said with Joe through no fault of any of the players.
5. Victor Matfield – 6.5
Victor played his best match for the Springboks, commanding in the lineouts and strong on the drive he still needs to up his workrate.
4. Jannes Labuschagne – 6.5
The Dromedaris old boy played very well once again, a huge force in the driving mauls and in creating go-forward he knows his job and does it very well.
3. Faan Rautenbach – 6.5
Faan, the strong man of the pack came out of a three-man mauling with a shrug of the shoulders totally unscathed - respect! He was strong in the scrums and did his bit in the broken play; he will make his presence felt more and more as his top-flight rugby experience expands.
2. James Dalton – 6.5
James Dalton can do so much good if he can just stay away from penalty situations! With Skinstad the tag of “ripeet offenda” will hang around his neck and this will cost him a card in the near future. His lineout throwing is spot on and aggression a plus but his mistakes arguably accounted for two converted penalties and a try. No team can afford this kind of liability – as the most experienced forward he needs to clean up his act.
1. Lawrence Sephaka – 6.5
Lawrence “hand off” Sephaka is fast becoming a legend in the Springbok jersey, his play is excellent and come scrum time he is solid as a rock – the experience gained on this tour will turn him into a regular stalwart for the team.
16. Delarey Du Preez
Replaced Dalton for a short while and his attacking play is valuable.
17. Ollie le Roux
The big guy did his bit and his extra weight does help in the scrums but it is very difficult to make an impact in any Tri Nations match.
18. AJ Venter
Nothing to comment
19. Hendro Scholtz
The young flanker replaced his captain for almost 50 minutes and accounted well for a first test start. Immensely strong he featured well with the ball but was not as spectacular as some believe. He is a good young player with loads of potential.
20. Neil de Kock
Nothing to comment
21. Adrian Jacobs
Nothing to comment
22. Brent Russell - 8
What a try!! The young man deserves a starting place ahead of Terblanché, he made an impact immediately upon arrival with a huge tackle on Sharpe and of course the blistering run down the touchline. The man has enthusiasm aplenty and that rubs off on his teammates and inspires their performance.
(Ollie Le Roux) was born when meat was
cheap! Chris "Buddha" Handy
To be honest I got a bit of pleasure out of seen their feckin' agony. Andy Haden was crying afterwards and I went up to him and said: `we're used to this losing, Andy, you're not'. Sure we could write a feckin' thesis on it. Moss Keane after Munster beat the All Blacks in 1978
Mark - if you can cleanly catch a ball kicked several hundred feet in the air within your own 22 metre line and call 'mark' while the entire other side is pounding towards you intent on doing you damage, you can have a free kick. You deserve it. Steve Boone
What exactly did Rudolf Straeuli tell his team during the break and how many expletives did he use?" TC Stofberg
Currie Cup Results
|Letters to the Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I like your article up to the point where you discussed the Sephaka issue. You try and explain to me why it is okay to use that analogy with only the black players while we've seen that the it was proven in the cricket that when you give somebody responsibility to do the job you select him he will perform. Look at Ashwell Prince, Paul Adams, Ntini against the Aussies last season. The only non-black player to perform admirably under the pressure was Smith of the WP. No self respecting person being they white or black can accept to be treated like that. It just shows me how we still living in a mushroom society where you are stuck in the dark corner and feel crap to bloom. Excuse my French but seeing that you are an enlighten person explain his age, colour and experience away and sommer at the same time explain why it does not apply to non-blacks.
Thank you for your letter, to make it very simple - there was not
suppose to be any racial overtures or classifications in what I said - as
a matter of fact I criticized those that did. I also agree with your
cricket assessment but that is cricket, this is rugby.
I get annoyed when people constantly blame the referee for everything that goes wrong in a much, but looking at that game from an obviously biased South African perspective I have to question Stuart Dickinson's integrity and/or ability. These are some of the things that come to mind and maybe you can clarify the laws regarding these issues:
1) Why was that early lineout when Dean Hall tried to keep the ball in given to the AB's. Did he touch the ball then step out?
2) When Willie Meyer "drove" into Bob Skinstad, why a penalty and not a scrum?
3) When Marius Joubert was sent off why was Umaga not even spoken to? Is he condoning taking the law into your own hands?
There were several other issues as well, such as questionably forward passes, the try from the "short" throw, etc, but the most disturbing issue is the number of times the whistle is now being blown in rugby and the constant irritation of the refs voice warning the players.
I think I might start watching hockey!
As an All Black supporter I was quite surprised about how upset the Springboks were with Stuart Dickinson's refereeing between the All Blacks and the Springboks. I agree that Mark Hammetts try should have been disallowed, but other than this I did not see a whole lot to complain about, but it could be quite a valid criticism that I would be biased.
Bearing this in mind, I looked at the refereeing display on Saturday trying to be as unbiased as possible.
First thing, Skinstad and Dalton didn't do their teams any favours by pushing the letter of the law regarding offside and slapping the ball out of the hands of Gregan. Having said that, I felt that half the penalties awarded against Niekirk were unfair as he was legitimately entitled to contest the ball. Of the five or so times that Dalton was penalised perhaps two were undeserved.
The most telling decision against the Springboks was the lineout about five metres from the Wallaby line when the Boks were hot on attack. The Wallaby player took the ball into touch between his knees and yet Paddy O'Brien (touch judge) ruled that a Bok player had done it. If awarded the lineout there was a good chance that the Boks could have scored.
Also the sin-binning of Greef was a bit unnecessary, I think the only reason that he was sent off instead of just penalised is because the referee thought that would add a bit of parity for sending off two Wallabies.
Other than that the Boks contrived to lose the game. Their play in the first half was clueless and as soon as they started driving hard in the second half it immediately started to pay results. It beggars belief that with two Wallaby forwards off the park the Boks consistently kicked the ball back to the Wallabies when easy yardage was available through the forwards. Stefan Terblanche was a prime culprit in this regard and Pretorius showed his lack of nous and experience in this regard, they should have run the ball, the holes were there.
Terblanche had a shocker of a game kicking when he should have been running and kicking badly at that. His wing was entirely porous in the first half, with the Wallabies consistently making huge yardage down that side, where Terblanche was nowhere to be seen on defence. He just hasn't made the step up from Super 12.
In contrast, within minutes of coming on, Russell put in a huge tackle on Nathan Sharpe, actually bringing down the big man himself, and his try was an absolute gem. Terblanche has nowhere near that much gas, and I am willing to bet that if he had been in the same position as Russell he would have chipped the ball ahead (and probably into touch) instead of scoring the try. The Wallabies were expecting Russell to kick and he did them.
Putting Russell and Paulse on the wings and Greef at fullback would give the Boks an incredibly talented backline with kicking abilities and pace to burn. Terblanche both in attack and defence doesn't match up to these guys. However I am pretty confident that Springbok rugby hasn't progressed that far yet, there is still the hang up with choosing big backs.
The Wallabies displayed a lot of rugby intelligence and have to be admired for the way they played with two forwards down. A 33-27 result probably would have done justice to both sides, but Gregan has to be admired for his confidence in going for the fourth try.
Why wasn't the referee a Kiwi? I think he would have been a bit more sympathetic to the way the Boks play.
Thanks for the dates and the temporary schedule of games for the 2003 World Cup.
In recent years the Springbok team has been plagued with backline play whilst the team still remained up amongst the best with its defensive play. In the game against Wallabies I witnessed for the first time in some years now, a vast improvement in the backline against formidable opposition, which is most encouraging and to score four tries against the world champions is most impressive for any side. However this improvement appears to be at the expense of the teams defensive patterns and tackling abilities. Even in the warm games to the Tri Nations, the defence has been somewhat suspect and this was proven against the All Blacks and more so against the Wallabies.
The lack of ferocious tackling associated with Springbok rugby and the miss tackling must be of major concern to the coach and players. Certain players like Stefan Terblanche who is renowned for his poor tackling abilities, still makes crucial miss tackles costing the team dearly. Stefan is not the only one. Surely at this level all players should have a certain minimum level of tackling ability. Even Breyten Paulse as small as he is has shown some tackling abilities even if it is only jumping onto the back of the "Big Man Johah". Hennie le Roux, a small man by rugby standards was renowned for his strong tackling abilities.
Three of the tries scored by the Wallabies where all as a result of bad and missed tackles at some stage even though the Wallabies ran some great lines. The last try which cost the Boks an extra bonus point was once again as a result of poor tackling on the line. Chris Latham went from a posture of virtually standing straight up on the line to diving through and scoring. If anything he should have been held up. What a disappointment. A shoreline of 33 - 27 would have sounded much better, a true reflection of the game and the Boks would have out-tried the Aussies. In my humble opinion, when the Bok team take the field with Bobby Skinstad in the line-up, they already start the game at a disadvantage by only playing 14 men. A rare sight to see that Bobby was actually involved in much of Saturday's game, scored a try, argued with the ref on numerous occasions and took a leading part in the brawl which is something he has become somewhat famous for of late. Let's hope this was not just another once-off performance by the glamour boy.
Although I have been an All Black supporter (Brian Williams being my hero) since being a youngster playing rugby in the backyard against my Afrikaans neighbours many years ago, I still support any other team playing against the Wallabies. Hope to see the Boks ending second only to the All Blacks in the Tri Nations. Local is Lekker but the All Blacks are Better!
Re: Aussie Cover up
Brilliant by John Conelly!!! The way he grabbed the ARU by the short and curlies makes me a very happy man. The ARU and Queensland RU, "on de odder hand, Darren", gives me reason to have doubts on the honesty in sport.
Remember that this is not the first cover up by the Aussies!! The Waugh/Warne saga in cricket was covered up for a couple of years. And the worst of all: These culprits were the first call for action and punishment when our beloved late captain, Hansie, did the exact same thing. Sure they were punished by means of a fine, but that does not compare to a life time ban, now does it? Same goes for the positive test done on swimmer Samantha Riley!
I will support Conelly's views on drug tests in Aus. How many more cover ups were there? Remember, Bok Iron Man, Johan Ackerman, was tested positive for doping OUT OF SEASON. He was banned for 2 years. Tune, tested DURING the S12, was secretly tested until he was "clean" and allowed to play. Wonder what action will the IRB take.
A further point to ponder: Andries Truscott was tested positive for taking REACTIVAN during the tour to New Zeeland and subsequently banned for 2 years. Walter Little tested positive for REACTIVAN 8 months later during the NPC and received a 3 month ban. I can't understand the logic in that.
Worst of all was when Dopey Tune scored the first try against the Boks on Saturday!! Anybody but him would have done. Then the match official would not cite they "honourable" master Tune for punching. And whilst on the
subject. Do you guys think the punishment was fair? Law 26 CLEARLY states that any form of punching is a RED card.
Good luck for the home leg.
Moet asseblief nie vergeet dat die Curriebeker seisoen ook nou afgeskop het nie.
Daar is van ons wat dit sal waardeer indien julle ook n bietjie van julle rugbykennis en entoesiasme vir die sport RUGBY aangaande die Curriebeker (en ander soos bv. die sewes reekse, Cravenweek, ens.) met ons sal deel. Dus, n bietjie aandag aan die Curriebeker reeks die jaar, wat beloof om n riller te wees, asseblief!
Groete en sterkte met julle baie interresante werk.
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