If anyone else out there feels as disgruntled as I do by the vacuous drivel that passes for English rugby commentary on SuperSport now is the time to act!
We the viewers are finally being asked for our opinions and are now able to rate the current crop of stuttering goons via a survey on SuperSports’ Super Rugby home page – which you can find here
It’s about high that there was a regime change in the rugby commentary booths in SA, but I must admit though that I’m a little bit torn as to who offends my ears the most.
The tone alone of Stransky’s voice is enough to give me a light nose bleed, but then having to listen to the slurred mumblings from the mouth of Hugh Bladen often sends me into a spiral of heavy binge drinking.
In my mind it’s the complete lack of wit and entertaining banter from the commentary teams that mark them out as being horribly dull. It’s “paint by numbers” commentary over at SuperSport but hopefully this is our chance to change that.
There are a few though who do manage to rise above the level of mediocrity and it would be unfair of me not to say that I think Ashwin Willemse, Matt Pearce and Owen Nkumane all do a pretty solid job.
I guess if I had to pick one to pack their bags and leave it would have to be Hugh Bladen, the thought being that if you cut off the head of the snake the body will die too.
Get voting people! Unless of course you like the idea of waking up to Stransky and Bladen come September?
Luke Watson had a bit of a rough year a while ago after falling out with Jake White, John Smit and some pretty thick comments about the Bok emblem that even I couldn’t defend. He went from poster boy to punch bag in a few short months, especially after John Smit released his autobiography.
I’ve always liked Luke Watson – after all SA rugby needs characters. And anyone who gets the old guard from the bad old days upset is worth a cheer if you ask me. I’d love to see a bit more WWE-style post match theatrics in rugby. There’s nothing more tiring than hearing post-match interviews talking about how “the boys gave a 100% percent out there”.
Wouldn’t it be great if after the Stormers victory over the Bulls we got to hear Jean De Villiers finish off his Supersport interview at Loftus with:
“And all the Bulls fans out there can suck it! Stormers rule!”
For good measure, maybe he could throw his Powerade drink in the face of Bobby Skinstad before leaving the podium. I’d definitely stay tuned for post match interviews if that kind of send off was a possibility.
Well I don’t think that it will happen anytime soon, but nevertheless with the news that later this year Luke is coming back to SA to play for the Southern Kings he seems to be repairing his image in South Africa.
One of the comments from Luke in his interview with another rugby blog site Rugby Heels and Everything Else is pretty revealing:
Luke: “Fans, fence-sitters, cynics… thank you all! Thanks to those who have supported me through some really difficult times (I might even have let some of you down and for that I apologise). You are awesome! To the cynics/haters… I get it. I promise. I totally understand. I’m sorry if I offended or hurt anyone, that was never my intention. People make mistakes. I’ve definitely made some. So I understand. To the fence-sitter… Thanks for not hating me!!”
You’d have to say, in the words of Peep Show “fair enough”. At least in the opinion of this website, Luke Watson is alright with me. All is forgiven my friend. Come back and kick some ass on the field.
The full article is available here – and I must say it’s good to see a fellow rugby site run by a woman. The rugby media landscape is changing in SA.
On a weekend where another South African sporting team – whose name shall not be mentioned – cut out the hearts of South Africans, spat on them and then trampled them into the subcontinent dirt, I headed off to Newlands to watch the Stormers v Force game with low spirits, low expectations and in a foul mood all around.
51-17. Yowzer, that is brutal no matter how the Australian press might try to spin their development phase storyline. Some of the teams from the land of beer and suntan lotion are dishing up absolute tripe this season. After Jacque Fourie crashed over in the first few minutes it was evident that the Force would do well to keep the score down. The Stormers were outmuscling them, out smashing them and dominating all facets of play – including most stylish haircuts. It looked like men against boys out there. Well with one exception: Bryan Habana.
Habana continued his miserable 2011 form this weekend. He looked genuinely frightened of the ball at various points in the game. It reminded me of those old under-10 rugby days where you had that one kid in the team who stayed inside your own 22 hoping and praying all game long that no-one would launch any up and unders in his general direction.
Still, the Stormers did what was asked of them to try and make up for the dismal misery that dared called itself a sporting weekend. For that they get a hat-tip from Big Daddy Rugby, a little wink and a drink on the house.
As for the team whose name shall not be mentioned – they best not show up in my neck of the woods with any cheeky smiles.
It’s getting to be about that time of the year when the pundits start talking about possible Bok combinations for the Test season. So it’s only fitting that the Big Daddy Rugby site sours the whole vibe by offering up its opinion. I have seen enough of the Super 15 to start penciling in my new Bok loose forward trio for the World Cup. And two of the incumbents have got to go.
I am tired of watching Pierre Spies look impressive in the prematch build up only to fade away the moment the whistle blows for kick off. Yes, I acknowledge Spies could probably get into the team on looks alone – he has the body of a marble statue, but unfortunately for him, he also has the same work rate. I think the eye-candy for the ladies needs to take a break from the Bok team until he increases his work rate. As for Ryan Kankowski, while it was memorable having David Hasselhoff in the team in order to win that “ironic 80s” credibility battle with our Aussie friends from across the Indian Ocean, he too has a tendency to disappear as soon as the game turns into a good old fashioned slugfest.
As for the last position in the trio, Schalk “Krazy Eyez Killa” Burger is untouchable. Burger was penned in many years ago on my secretly immortal list, meaning he is immune from all criticism. I simply will not suffer criticism of him. So who to replace the Hoff and Spies?
How about the multi-ton Mack Truck from the Sharks known to his parents as Willem Alberts? This guy was a virtual one man recking ball on the northern hemisphere tour last year. Unlike Spies this guy still has a few indentations on him from where he trampled over would be tacklers. Put a starting Bok jersey on this fellow and watch the Kiwis bounce off him come the World Cup.
With Burger and Alberts to inflict the physical damage, Heinrich “Lobster Boy” Brussow would be my perfect foil to round out this “world of pain” combination. Last weekend against the Waratahs saw Lobster Boy back in top form after a long injury layoff. It was poetry watching him poaching possession and making steals with Richie McCaw-like awesomeness.
I am calling it early: a loose forward trio of Burger, Brussow and Alberts is the stuff of Bok fantasies.
This is quite simply too good not to post.
If you’ve been following the English press at all during the 6 Nations you’ll be aware that an English Grand Slam was an almost certainty after England beat Wales in Cardiff in their first game of the tournament.
It was a mere formality. The writing was on the wall.
I thought that that might be a tad premature. Just a touch.
But things only got worse after the wins against Italy, France and Scotland.
GRAND SLAM, GRAND SLAM, GRAND SLAM!!!
Well apparently Nike bought into the hype hook, line and sinker and went ahead and prepared a rather dull “Grand Slam Winners 2011″ video clip for England, which some dear soul has seen fit to leak to the world.
I thank you kind Sir/Madam.
So the Irish saved their best for last and once again stuck a spanner in the spokes of the English chariot as it made its way towards a first Grand Slam title since 2003.
I’m not entirely sure what this 6 Nations campaign has taught us about the Northern Hemispheres challenge for the Webb Ellis trophy later this year, other than the fact that all the teams seem to be rather inconsistent.
France started off with a bang against the Scots (who actually looked decent in that game) only to end up losing to Italy in Rome.
The Scots got drilled by the Welsh at home, but then almost managed to out-muscle the English in their own backyard.
England beating the French at Twickers and the Welsh in Cardiff were pretty solid efforts, but the heavy loss in Dublin should have brought them back down to earth with a bang.
Ireland quite honestly looked crap all tournament, but then magically clicked on Saturday to produce a performance that would have given most teams a run for their money.
Italy, although ending up with the Wooden Spoon, played the best I’ve seen them play. They were unlucky to lose to the Irish and managed to beat the French for the first time in their history.
And then there’s the plucky Welsh, who started off terribly with that loss in Cardiff, but then managed to string together 3 wins on the trot, only to surrender meekly to the French in the last game of the tournament.
It has made for entertaining viewing, but I don’t think that any of the Tri Nations teams will be overly fussed by what was on display.
I can’t see any of those sides beating the Kiwis, and if the Boks manage to get their selections right they should come out on top too.
The Aussies are a slightly different matter though, having lost their last 2 games to The Fatties, but seeing as this is a site for uniformed rugby views I’m going to take the position that the Southern Hemisphere will continue to school the North come crunch time in September.
If you are a Stormers fan, Saturday night was a sweet comfort for last year’s disappointing Super 14 final. Not only did the Stormer’s end seven lean years since their last win in Pretoria and not only was the winning try scored by a former Bulls player, but best of all – in their 23-13 win the Stormers front row ate the Blue Bulls at scrum time.
For those who are fans of Stormer’s scrumming (few of them that there are) this was the equivalent of tuning into old school eTV Saturday night adult programming. Witnessing a front row from the Cape monstering the Blue Bulls pack at scrum time was pure joy. It’s not often you see the Bulls give up tightheads on their own scrum feed, it’s rarer still to see them pushed backward faster than a Middle East dictator.
Bryan Habana had a mixed night, copping it from both the Bulls and the Stormers supporters as for most of the match his ball handling skills looked like an impersonation of Charlie Chaplin trying to hold onto a slippery eel covered in oil. Nevertheless he put on his rarely seen burners at just the right time to zip past Bjorn Basson on his way to scoring the winning try for the men from the Cape. I was half expecting/half hoping to see him give the Andrew Merhtens’ Loftus salute of a middle finger victory lap.
There’s going to be a different vibe across the Republic on Monday morning. A few Capies will be swaggering into office and there might be a few sheepish Bulls fan who will be wishing they could take back their Friday afternoon taunts. I can imagine a few offices around the country in which Cape Townians will be bringing their middle finger to the office for the Monday morning coffee routine.
With a name that evokes images of metrosexual male models or WWE superstars, you might expect to find WP and Stormers rugby player, Brok Harris in the back line rather than in the tight five up with the grunts. And you’d be right. Despite the fact that Brok is selected to play in the tight five, the backline is exactly where you will find this burly fellow showcasing his sensational silky skills.
In his mind his selection as part of the tight five is nominal or “symbolic” only – his true calling is to run with the show ponies in the back line.
Wherever there is a ruck that needs a forward to clear it, or wherever a loose maul needs some muscle to be added it to it, Brok can be found far away from where he needs to be, instead preferring to spend his time at “first receiver” in the key playmaker position for the Stormers.
Usually this requires Brok to insert himself between scrumhalf and flyhalf (no small feat when the scrummie in picture is Ricky Januarie) and to take possession of the pill squandering a three man overlap on his outside.
Never one to be discouraged by repeated failure, when the next ruck is formed, he quickly finds his place out where he imagines he is most needed – in space with room to burn.
As to his abilities as a scrummager and at ruck and maul, Stormers fans will never know how he stacks up as a tight forward. But as to his true calling, he yearns, nay aches to hear Hugh Bladen calling his name as “the big fella crossing the whitewash”.
If you live in Cape Town you’ve probably been subjected to the intolerable whinging this week on radio stations and newspapers about the fact that the Stormers have gone two games at home without scoring a try. I am exempting Supersport from this old media smackdown, only through ignorance – I’ve been unwilling to suffer through the tripe that Supersport dishes up as post match “expert opinion” this year. One can only imagine Kobus Wiese and Bobby Skinstad making frequent mention of the phrases “who wanted it the most out there” and “a lack of passion”.
Well as a moderately loyal and appropriately jaded Stormers supporter I will not stand for the media bashing a coach who has gone three matches undefeated. What do these journos want? A bloody primary school game where everyone in the team gets to score a try so as not to feel left out? A 55-50 humdinger?
People seem to forget that try-fests devalue the significance of moments of brilliance. This the reason why no-one gives a crap about the NBA. It is boring as hell to watch a team score at one end followed by the opposing team scoring at the other end ten seconds later (please don’t point out the success of T20 cricket – I can’t explain it either).
Poor old Allister Coetzee is merely grinding home the lesson we all should have learned in our first year of rugby. Namely, that a win is a win is a win. And win ugly if you have to (for the moment let’s leave out that second SA rugby rule, i.e. if you can’t win the game, at least win the fight). The Stormers have won ugly and Coetzee deserves praise for drawing blood out of stones in his first three matches.
My advice to Allister is to shrug off the media criticism and start doing your best Jack Nicholson impersonation for the next time you are in front of a mic. I’d love to see Allister channeling Jack in A Few Good Men the next time he is on Boots and All:
I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very sporting victories I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I’d rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a rugby ball and get on the field. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you’re entitled to!
There was an article in the Cape Times by my favourite rugby scribe, Gavin Rich, a few weeks ago which made some pertinent points about the crazy amount of rugby being played these days
The basic message is that rugby is in danger of shooting itself in the foot with the latest extended addition of the Super 10 rugby….yes remember that, when the Super 15 previously 14 previously 12 was actually made up of 10 teams.
This super rugby concept is going to reduce fans appetite for the game. Results and highlights packages flash at us constantly, build up hype relies on the same formulaic headlines, there’s a standard template for coaches/captains to deliver at post match interviews, fans make the weekly approach to the stadiums in the same zombie like trance trudge
Of course it’s about the moolah, money talks shyte walks, change is the only constant, all that Laissez-Faire theory, but I’m a fan of the old concept, “less is more”.
The fans are their own worst enemy – especially in South Africa where rugby is a religion – even lapping up the pre-pre warm up game which now kicks off in January!!
At the rate we’re going the opening round of the Southern Hemisphere’s premier competition is going to be played on News Year Day, pushing aside my much beloved traditional News Year Day cricket test match.
Ok a MASSIVE exaggeration, but one does hear fans regularly complaining : “Gee it’s so early in the year to be playing rugby”. Still we tune in at kick off, only to justify the administrators decision to play more rugby, and line theirs and the advertisers pockets with golden nuggets (not the chicken , hard currency).
Isn’t this where the administrators and the sponsors and advertisers should come together and do the right thing for the game?
My dream is that there is a level headed executive out there who will have a “Jerry Maguire” moment, plucks the courage to show the 2-fingers to the Man, and walks out with gold-fish in bag and a plucky PA,
The right balance needs to be found to keep us entertained, and avoid viewership burn-out before the end of May! And it needs to be done Pronto.
Looks like referees Johnny Kaplan and Peter Allan have managed to land themselves in some mighty hot water this weekend.
If you’re not aware of went down, take a look at the following clip, which highlights this rather costly (for the Irish) refereeing blunder.
Oh dear! That is unfortunate. My understanding is that the TV match official can only rule on the scoring of a try and not on the build up of said try, which seems a little silly to me. Surely the ref should be able to use the available technology whenever necessary?
That being said though these things are like swings and roundabouts and any rugby team would be able to list a number of crucial refereeing errors which have cost them a game.
It’s all just a bit amateur-ish and I can understand the Irish being pissed (Imagine if this had happened to the Boks – the gnashing of teeth would be deafening!).
So the Irish are to receive an apology from the IRB and Kaplan and Allan are to face IRB “big boy” Paddy O’Brien this week and life goes on.
It still leaves a bitter taste in the mouth though. We all make mistakes, I’m not here to shred Kaplan and Allan, I just find it hard to swallow that mistakes like this can determine the outcome of a rugby game when clearly we have the ability to let them not do so.
Kitch Christie, who coached a ragtag Bok team in the mid 1990s will always be remembered as a legend in Springbok history. He was the only modern Bok coach to retire undefeated, he maintained a 100% win record which included the 1995 World Cup. This tale of an encounter between a young Stormers coach and the sage Kitch Christie, comes to us from Chuang Tzu, who famously coached the Wu Wei sevens rugby team under the Chou dynasty.
Allister Coetzee spoke to Kitch Christie saying “I have a big tree, which people call useless. Its trunk is so knotted, no carpenter could work on it, while its branches are too twisted to use a square or a compass upon. So although it is close to the road, no carpenter would look at it. Now Kitch your words are like this, too big and no use, therefore everyone ignores them.”
Kitch Christie replied, “Allister, have you never seen a wild cat or a weasel?. It lies there crouching and waiting, east and west it leaps out not afraid of going high or low, until it is caught in a trap and dies in a net. Yet again there is the yak, vast like a cloud in heaven. It is big, but cannot use this fact to catch rats. Now you Allister, have a large tree and don’t know how to use it, so why not plant it in the middle of nowhere, where you can go to wander or fall asleep under its shade? No axe under heaven will attack it, nor shorten its days, for something useless will never be disturbed.”
Theres a lesson in there somewhere for the Stormers this weekend.
Blue Bulls utility forward Danie Rossouw gives new meaning to the phrase ” the strong, silent type”.
He may give it his all physically out on the field, but when it comes to his mental / emotional state no one, including his team mates, has a clue as to what’s going on in that big ol’ head of his.
With that in mind Big Daddy Rugby has put together a “Mood Chart” of a few of the many moods of Danie Rossouw.
It is our hope that this will help us all to feel just that little bit more connected to Danie, and to possibly give a glimpse into the inner workings of this complex individual.
So who in Stormer’s management paid for Bryan Habana’s moved to the Cape? The Bulls must be laughing all the way to the bank. How could a man capable of moments like this:
be turned into the old circus donkey that we’ve got down in the Cape now? I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen Habana do anything remotely resembling that try since he got his new jersey. Its a pretty sad indictment on the conditioning programming at the Stormers and WP that you can see Habana’s loss of pace visibly deteriorate over his career down here. If I read one more tweet from the Stormers camp, or one more article from the biased Cape press about how Habana has “regained his pace in training” and is capable of running the 100m 0.4 seconds faster than Usain Bolt, I’ll gag.
Did the moment that Habana put on his Stormer’s jersey coincide with the moment he lost his pace? He seems still capable of finishing tries, as any good finisher would – a bit like Danie Gerber at the end of his career. Only Habana seems slower than Gerber on crutches.
In Stormer’s land we pay top dollar for a Ferrari, but get an old Daihatsu. Ouch.
After 3 weeks of “Super” rugby it’s probably a good time to introduce a few of our contenders for the all important “Questionable Grooming”
title for the 2011 season.
Now this is by no means a final list as I’m sure that as the season progresses a number of new players will step up to the plate in an attempt to “out-mullet”, “out-beard” or just plain “out-ugly” the chaps we have listed below.
The only criteria for making it onto this prestigious list is that “the look” must be the current look of the player (so all those tough backs who grew beards for the start of the season only to wimp out and shave them by week 2 do not make the cut).
Without further ado I give you:
Special mention must go to the Sharks reserve lock Anton Bresler for his breathtaking mullet and to the Lions speedster James Kamana for his strangely unsettling “rat-tail”. Both will be added to the list when suitable images are found.
Feel free to comment with your nominations. There must be at least 30 Kiwis missing from the list.