If Saturday’s test match doesn’t get you excited that little rugby fan inside of you has died

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Another Supersport viewer about to be disappointed by the standard of Hugh Bladen’s commentary.

Saturday is pretty much as good as it gets for a rugby fan. A rising South African side, buoyed by a vicious assault of the Wallabies, taking on the mighty All Blacks in New Zealand. If you’re not up for this, you’re not for up for rugby anymore.  That little bright eyed kid inside of you who used to set the alarm clock early to wake up and watch the Boks playing in New Zealand may just have been clubbed into submission after too many years of false hopes.

The cynic in me says that Heyneke’s new Bok team hasn’t been capable of putting together two good performances in a row. That any team that includes Zane Kirchner just can’t be that good. That there are still one or two key things wrong in selection, that Ruan “lazy peasant” Pienaar is not the answer at 9, that Flip Van De Merwe on the bench lowers the whole tone of the squad, not to mention the average hair style street cred. That while the All Blacks in New Zealand are most definitely beatable, this Bok team isn’t quite at that level yet. I’d love to be wrong about this. After all, watching the Boks taking apart the Wallabies and just dismantling them like a disturbed toddler pulling the legs of a stick insect was pretty friggin’ awesome. How great it would be to watch a Bok pack rumble over a retreating All Black scrum?

But then… that not’s going to happen is it? That’s why the All Black are the number one team in the world. Because you don’t just arrive in New Zealand, talk up a good game to the press, psych up your front row half an hour before kickoff by slapping them in the face and showing them pictures of Bobby Skinstad hanging out with their wives and then simply win in New Zealand. Just ask countless Bok teams who’ve been there before and spoken about “having a good feeling” in the days leading up to the ultimate test.

Still. Around the Republic on Saturday, the skottle braai breakfasts will be smoking, the early morning drinkers will be getting to ready to rumble in the bars across the Cape Flats. Kiwis will be talking down their own team ahead of the renewing of the struggle with the “old rival”. Ex-pat Saffers living in New Zealand will feel all kinds of inner turmoil. And you can bet there is going to be some awkward family get-togethers across the Western Cape after final whistle. This is going to be EPIC!

Ruan Pienaar vs Fourie du Preez: Ultimate scrumhalf matchup

Who is the better scrumhalf?   If anybody hasn’t been paying attention to Springbok rugby in the last few years, we thought we’d line them up, by the stats.  You decide for yourself who should the Bok starting scrumhalf be?

Scrumhalf

Currently Ruan is only ahead of Fourie on the team stat “ability to delay the onset of male pattern baldness.”

Ruan Pienaar:

  • Known for: imitating a pensioner at an ATM when attempting to clear the ball from a ruck
  • Usually spotted on the field: pointing at the ball in the loose so that opposition players can steal it more effectively
  • Album he plays for young players about to make their debut:  Nickelback’s 2001 release, Silver Side Up
  • Fact you may not know about him: Makes a mean pasta alfredo
  • Nickname: Johnny No Shoes
  • Amount of time taken to pass from a scrum: We are still waiting for a successful scrum clearance to be able to report on this

Fourie du Preez:

  • Known for:  pinpoint passes that create try scoring assists, if you’re prepared to rewind the PVR/Tivo and see what really led up to a team try
  • Usually spotted on the field: popping up at a tackle just short of the line in order to score the “soft” try
  • Album he plays for young players about to make their debut: Dylan’s 1975 classic tale of heartbreak, loneliness and anger, Blood on the Tracks
  • Fact you may not know about him: May be responsible for ending apartheid when as a young boy in 1990 he met FW at a school rugby game, looked him in the eye and said “we’re all the same on the inside, you know.”
  • Nickname: Two Sheds (Fourie once thought about building a second shed on his property)
  • Amount of time taken to pass from a scrum: Too fast to measure with our current technology.  The  recently constructed Large  Hadron Collider beneath the Franco-Swiss border is in fact an attempt to measure Fourie Du Preez’ passes

Springbok rugby fans torn between cynicism and wildly misguided hope this year – again

In offices and pubs around the country, South African rugby fans are sharply divided into two camps.  On one hand, we have the dreamers, the romantics, the hopeful misfits.  They can be heard consoling the cynics with phrases like:

“Yes, but I’ve got a good feeling this year” and the oft-repeated “Shooo – but there’s a lot of depth in South African rugby these days, eh?  I was just watching the Happy Valley under 11s playing against the Paarl girls’ team and man – this country has no shortage of quality fly-halves.”

This is the camp that thinks Morne Steyn is going to come right this year, that picking Fourie Du Preez is sign of Heyneke’s under appreciated genius and that when we click we’re going to “put fifty on the All Blacks”. Continue Reading

Richie McCaw punches himself in the face

If you caught the All Blacks’ convincing win (16th consecutive and counting…) over the Boks this weekend, you probably noticed Richie McCaw nursing a lovely shiner after the match.

So what?!…you might say. It’s not surprising when you consider the intensity of the clashes between these two great rivals as well as McCaw’s ‘once more unto the breach’ leadership style?

Aah, but wait!…I would retort. The surprising bit is that he later admitted the injury was a result of ‘friendly fire’ and not at the hands of a marauding Bok forward as you might suspect!

Big wank! You may jest. That happens all the time, just ask Quade Cooper who’s been sidelined after Kurtlocker Beale kneecapped him in the showers for stealing his brylcreem.

Touché, but in this case it was McCaw who punched himself in the face just to show how little he respected the Bok attack on Saturday. Just plain arrogant.

Richie McCaw….punch drunk on the taste of victory.

Kiwis are champs, but…

Fair enough.  The All Blacks ended the debate and speculation as to whether or not any other nations are in the same league as them at the moment.   The Kiwis are best the side on the planet by quite a long way.  Worthy champs and all that.  But that doesn’t change the fact that that one “supporter” in the stands at Soccer City still deserves a full size naartjie delivered at high speed to the back of the head.  You know who I am talking about.

All Black fly-half abducted by extra terrestrials in Buenos Aires

The All Blacks’ tail-between-legs thrashing of the Pumas this weekend may not have come as a big surprise to many, but revelations that replacement fly-half Aaron Cruden was abducted by extra-terrestrials during the match has raised a few eyebrows.

Despite there having been reports of other-worldly lights on the field towards the end of the match, many believed this to be a bizarre anomaly caused by the floodlights reflecting off Richie McCaw’s pearly-white teeth. Another explanation being offered is the possibility of refracted beams of sunshine, which have been known to occasionally shine out of Dan Carter’s arsehole.

However it was only following the completion of the match that a clearly shaken Cruden revealed that he’d been targeted by lasers in the lead-up to taking a conversion kick, and stranger still, that he’d been beamed aboard a UFO and probed about All Black tactical domination and the ritualistic meanings behind the Haka.

Cruden, who has no known history of substance misuse, also went on to claim  that Ma’a Nonu is in fact an extra terrestrial from a planetary system roughly located within the Andromeda spiral galaxy.

Ma’a Nonu. Could be from the Andromeda spiral galaxy.

 

Things you didn’t know about Nick Mallett: Purple Rain

In honour of Nick Mallett’s glorious performances as a studio guest for Supersport this test season, we’ve decided to run a few articles letting our readers know some obscure things about South Africa’s golden manchild.  We begin with his under appreciated role in shaping American pop music.

In 1983 Nick was languishing in obscurity after a less than stellar season as a loose-forward with Western Province.  Having taken a break from rugby, he was working on a concept album that he described to friends at the time as “a new kind of sound – the sound of electric postmodern lightning”.   Most studios were not ready for Mallett’s revolutionary sound and he did not find a willing audience or lucrative record deal.  A trip to the United States in late 1983 changed all that.

Maybe I’m just too demanding? Why do we scream at each other?

After finding himself watching a game of street basketball in Minnesota and as is customary whenever Nick Mallett is in the vicinity of a sports contest, he was unable to stop himself from screaming obscenities at the participants. Nick accused the basketball of lacking heart and not trying hard enough.  Unknown to him, he had interrupted a game involving musicians from the Revolution, Prince’s support group at the time.  Few would know it at the time but this chance encounter between Nick Mallett and the Revolution would change American musical history.  They were able to resolve their differences when Nick Mallett showed the Revolution the correct way to pump fake and alley-oop and all involved soon formed a bond that would lead to musical partnership.

Within days Prince had joined the team and together with Nick Mallett they collaborated on early recordings of what would later become Prince’s seminal album Purple Rain.

For those collectors lucky enough to have the original vinyl 1984 print, Nick Mallett has partial writing credits for a number of songs including “Let’s Go Crazy“.  Arguably his most famous contribution to the Purple Rain album is his line:

“This is what feels like when doves cry”.

When Nick isn’t found at primary schools yelling at under 10 age group rugby kids playing rugby who happen to be unrelated to him, he can be found in Supersport adding insight, pathos and tragedy to South African rugby broadcasts.

Dean Greyling: please wee off

Dean Greyling, let me count the ways you hurt me.

  • 4 penalties in less than 20 minutes including one that robbed us of a bonus point
  • knocked the ball on with the try line in site
  • missed tackles
  • thuggish and cowardly flying forearm hit earning yourself a yellow card and the Boks the bad reputation of being sore and dirty losers.

Please.  I never asked for you to be picked for the Boks ever.  I despise your silly facial hair and your attempt to look tough.  You made me explore moral nihilism in my darkest moments today.   You should be locked in a room with only Nick Mallett and a blunt spoon.  You should also never, never play for the Springboks ever again .

Also according to Wikipedia your first name is MacGuyver and you were born in 1986.  So… please wee off.

Nightlife report: Argentinians on tour

Whenever a touring rugby team is in town there is some banter amongst the more predatory groupie females about the challenge of pulling in a visiting rugby player and consigning it to a special notch above the bedpost.

Connected as we are to the pulse of Cape Town, we know that some groupies ran into the Argentinian rugby team at that stellar institute of Plumstead nightlife Pirates.   While some of those female fans began the evening with high hopes for conquering their Latin fantasies, the feedback on how it went can probably best be described by these two pictures:

Latin fantasy:

A typical Argentinian rugby player as seen through the eyes of a female fan with tequila haze at Pirates.

Latin reality:

So very, very sober.

Heyneke Meyer has the “Morne Steyn” disease

Looks like Heyneke Meyer has succumbed to the Bok coach disease of irrational loyalty to players.  This week on the interview circuit all was revealed on the DSTV tragicomedy referred to as Boots ‘n All.

As the only guest in studio not willing to kiss anyone in a bok blazer’s ass and in his “speaking truth to power” mode, Nick Mallet called out Heyneke on the continued selection of Morne Steyn at flyhalf  despite his lack of form.  Morne is in the team to kick goals, since he doesn’t exactly give you anything else.  And he isn’t exactly kicking goals is he?

Hearing Heyneke defend his selection was painful.  He mumbled something about Morne’s form not actually being that bad and that if you switched to Afrikaans commentary during the game he actually plays quite well.

This kind of irrational disease seems to overcome South African’s in positions of power.  It also has its counter in the insane refusal to pick a player who is clearly better than “coach’s favourite”.   Is the Heyneke Meyer – Morne Steyn clouded thinking going to be up there amongst the following:

  • John “Colonel Gadaffi” Smit’s stranglehold over the De Villiers coaching tenure.
  • Jake White and “the fetcher” debacle, circa 2004, 2005 and 2006.
  • Tiaan Strauss  not being selected against the touring Kiwis in post-isolation South Africa.
  • The ANC insisting that Julius Malema “wasn’t a complete shit”, at least until he turned his idiot hose onto Jacob Zuma that is.
  • Nick Mallet and the Gary Teichmann.
  • Bryan Habana and all of his coaches during 2008 to 2011.
  • Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn not beating the shit out of Jar Jar Binks in every scene in which they appear together.

Perhaps Pat Lambie needs to start showing up to coaching sessions wearing his Morne Steyn mask.  Is that what it is going to take?  Or a miracle cure for Johan Goosen?

Morne Steyn looking pretty confident now that he has that compromising photo of Heyneke Meyer with his “Sex in the City” box set.

Jean de Villiers’ captain speech leaked to the press

Big Daddy Rugby managed to get a copy of the speech that Jean de Villiers gave the new Bok squad in his first training session as Bok captain.  In the spirit of journalistic integrity, we reproduce it here, unedited, in its entirety:

“Well, boys it’s the first time that we’re all together since Colonel Gadaffi was ousted from power.  Some of you may have known him better by his street name, John Smit.  As your new Bok captain, Heyneke has asked me to impart some words of wisdom to the squad.  I’d like to start by telling all the Bulls players here (and there are a lot of you) that the most important thing I have learned in my years playing in the Cape is that it is poor form to put ice cubes in your wine, especially if it is a wooded chardonnay – it really messes with the tannins.  All right, enough with the life lessons.

Now that I am skipper, things are going to change around here.  I run a pretty tight ship.  First of all, no one, I repeat, NO ONE who has played less than 10 caps is allowed to give me direct eye contact.  You earn that right.  Until you have played New Zealand in New Zealand you don’t smile or wink at me in the corridors.

Secondly, I want the whole squad, including management to refer to me as “Proposition Jean” or “Prop J”.  If you call me Jean I will ignore you.  That includes if I am put away in space and you are on my outside with only one man to beat.  I also refuse to pass to anyone who doesn’t appreciate Springsteen’s Nebraska album.   Gadaffi may have been comfortable with you experimenting with that Marron 5 stuff but that ends now.

Stay humble, remember to practice ritual purity.  As Carel Du Plessis used to say, “guilty feet have got no rhythm”.

And lastly, before we go out there, remember: Nothing lasts forever… even cold November rain.”

Don’t panic just yet: Zane is only in the squad not the starting line up

Okay, new coaches get to pick players with whom they are comfortable.  I get that.  But come on… Zane Kirchner?   When PdV picked Sideshow Bob Kirchner for the British Lions series in 2009 I was willing to put it down to the mad ramblings of an insane man – after all it was a dead rubber.

  • No Heinrich “God’s gift to rugby” Brussouw?
  • Wynand Olivier and JJ Engelbrecht (WTF is all I will say to this)
  • No Gio Aplon
  • Jano Vermaak

If we end up coughing up this series to the English there are going to be some seriously pissed off Stormers and Sharks fans in this country.  He could make this all okay by admitting he did it just to upset the Cape Town media cartel and that he will actually be picking Lambo at full back and that JJ Engelbrecht is nothing more than an alternative spelling for Heinrich Brussouw.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCCyvAwbbso?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

Heyneke.  I wanted you to be Bok coach, but not like this…

Are the cracks starting to show?

New Zealand national rugby union team

Let the cracking begin... Image via Wikipedia

Tip of the hat to the Wallabies for winning the Tri-Nations this weekend for the first time since 2001. They did it by beating the Bok A team in the Republic and by repelling a full strength All Black team this weekend.  Nicely done, gents.  Nicely done.

Tri-Nations farce over, we can now turn our attention over to the World Cup.

Will two losses in a row trouble the fragile confidence of the Kiwis? You bet it will.  I wouldn’t want to face the stern headmasterly looks of disapproval Henry must have given his squad after the loss.  I suspect the self-medicating has already begun and half of the Kiwi backline have already downloaded some Enya tracks to “calm the nerves”.

The All Blacks are favoured to win this World Cup – as they always are.  But that also makes them favourites to choke yet again.  But will the home ground advantage make it better?  Or will it make the choke even more spectacular?

Which teams can knock the All Blacks back into the quivering choking territory? I suspect only the Wallabies, the Boks and the French have the potential to beat the All Blacks in New Zealand.  This is a strong All Black team who are unlikely to go behind on the scoreboard against anyone.  But if… and it’s a big if.. they do go behind in the scoreboard in a knock out game – it’s not going to be pretty.  Just ask the Proteas.

But the Aussies deserve their moment in the sunshine in this overscheduled season.  Tip of the hat to Wallabies fans everywhere. May your Bundaberg influenced hangovers grant you a much deserved day off work.

Shock call-up for All Blacks in Tri Nations decider

In a last ditch effort to avoid being branded ‘a bit predictable’,  or the team least likely to do something crazy at the World Cup, the All Blacks have a released a shock statement that they will be calling-up American actor Denzel Washington for Saturday’s Tri Nations decider against the Wallabies.

The actor’s reasons for putting himself forward for selection and links to the country remain unclear, though it seems he may have visited Auckland once on a stopover flight to Japan and has apparently seen at least two of the three Lord of Rings films.

Washington has no previous experience on a rugby field but his press officer commented that: ‘Denzel is a method actor of the highest standard, and when he takes a role on,  he f***ing lives and breathes it!’

Footage of the stars first attempt at the Haka were recently caught on camera and posted on Youtube. Judge for yourself…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeHIGTEL7dM&playnext=1&list=PL9CA935DFF718F31A]

Mehhhh… A decent Bok team would have put 40 on those Kiwis

Other than Heinrich Brussow’s heroic efforts and Jacque Fourie’s Houdini escape acts on Saturday, I thought the Boks as a whole were pretty disappointing.  Sure – I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth and I’ll always be glad to take a Bok victory over the men in black.  Even if it is just to see the look of disappointment on the Kiwi fans “who flew all the way from Auckland” in the words of Bob Skinstad.  Hell… if I could overhear the conversations on the VW minibus drive back to suburbs of Port Elizabeth checking in at the airport and during the flight back to New Zealand… A win is a win and all that, but how come this Bok team never really goes for the kill when blood is in the water?

We had the All Blacks in trouble at 15-0 in the first half.  With a three score lead and a dominant scrum we should have put our boots on the Kiwi’s throats and stomped down hard… not letting them come up for air.  So what do we do? Other more reputable websites (you know who they are) described the Bok performance as clinical. If those professional journalists had put down their tik pipes for a few moments to watch the game, they have noticed that instead of being clinical, we were treated to the sight of Morne Steyn aimless kicks upfield that dares a dangerous Kiwi back three to run back at a Bok defence that is out of alignment. The Boks allowed them to make 23 line breaks (admittedly that stat comes from “Mr Personality” Graham Henry himself).  The Boks allowed them back into the game with a try in the shadows of half time.  In short the Boks let them make the score line respectable. A better Bok team would have strangled this poor Kiwi side into submission – then dragged them all over the field with rolling maul after rolling maul, followed by Bakkies rubbing mayonnaise and All Gold into the hair of the pretend flyhalf Colin Slade.

Our first game in the World Cup is against a Welsh team that is not only sporting new hairdos and rather sensual outfits, but also sporting renewed confidence after a win over England.  I’ve not seen anything in this Tri-Nations that fills me with confidence about winning the World Cup.  Let’s hope I’m wrong, but I’ve got a horrible feeling that in between Bok players kicking each other in the head accidentally, the bright spots in this World Cup are going to be few and far between.  Has someone started the countdown clock on PdV’s tenure yet?

It was a long flight back to Auckland for these "loyal" All Black supporters. Somebody might need to call Child Protection Services to look after that youngster in the top right corner - picture from Pretoria News.

All Blacks training video exposes their No.1 weakness….perfection

Okay…admittedly there are some wicked skills on display in this video. But I can’t help thinking that the time spent doing this could have been put to better use elsewhere!

For instance:

  • earning some pocket-money by being an extra in the upcoming Hobbit film
  • working on the choreography of the Haka (I’m thinking a bit more Gaga and a little less Hammer)
  • helping Sonny Bill Williams film his new workout video ‘Ripped and Ready’
  • elocution lessons
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjqqqcPAViQ]
AND now for the response:
This is the response from some Aussie players who demonstrate that perfection isn’t everything….well it’s far less entertaining at any rate.
Watch and enjoy…
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7X8Sc5u0hY]

The real reason Matt Giteau got sacked

Robbie Deans had to make a choice. Either Matt Giteau was going to the World Cup or James Horwill was. They may play in different positions… but think about it.  Have you ever seen them in a photograph together?   If they didn’t wear different scrum caps could you tell them apart on the extremely unlikely event you ever saw them in the same room together?

Giteau and Horwill doing their best impersonations of each other. Or is it?

15 reasons to feel positive about the Boks

For those of us who are tired of all the negativity surrounding the Springboks at the moment, I thought I’d put on my limited edition SuperSport presenters shirt and give us fans a list of the positives that can be taken from Saturdays game.

I’ll approach this from a player level and hopefully show that it’s not all doom and gloom for the Boks at the World Cup just yet.

– 15 France Steyn – (see what I did there?) Sporting his fabulous new avant-garde cinema nouveau look, we’re at least guaranteed not to be the ugliest team in the competition. It’s edgy and mysterious and I like it! Fingers crossed Dick pulls him aside and mentions the “weight” issue though. Fattie and Arty may rhyme but that doesn’t mean it’s a good combo looks-wise for a Springbok.

– 14 JP – I’m pretty sure he played. In my Corenza C / Black Label induced haze I remember him being pinged for holding on, but other than that he was a ghost. If you’re not involved it’s hard to be penalised right? Good thinking by the coaching staff…next up the “stealth try!”

– 13 Jaque – Looked like he was actually trying. Good use of hand signals and shouting instructions at team mates. Attempted the “Element of Surprise” move fairly well by running from his own in-goal area in the first half, which almost had Dick choking on his boerie roll.

– 12 JDV – Great display of passion when singing the National Anthem. He’s also taller than Pat McCabe.

– 11 Habana – Good tackle on the little Aussie number 9 in the 2nd half. Also managed to break one himself in the first 40, something he hasn’t done in the last 8 tests. Looks better with a little stubble too. It almost makes the opposition take him seriously.

– 10 Butch – Only missed one kick AND managed not to get a yellow card. Bonus! Also managed to keep things predictably simple for his fellow back line players by doing pretty much the same thing whenever he got the ball.

– 9  FdP – Picked up from where he left off by being more interested in talking to the ref than actually playing the game. Continued in conversation with Bryce on Twitter afterwards too. All part of the bigger picture and the Boks “Ref Management” strategy for the World Cup.

-8  Spies – Was an animal out there! A medium-sized domesticated animal sure, but still! Had a couple of good runs whilst we had a scrum. Get ready for those energy drink ads again.

– 7  Danie – Helped a lot of the guys carry their kit bags from the bus to the changing rooms. No one does donkey work quite like our Danie.

– 6  Heinrich – Made a turnover, didn’t get injured and scared the crap out of the Aussies with his best Tasmanian Devil impression.

– 5  Big Vic – Clearly all the hard work done on his kicking has paid off! Slotted into the backline seamlessly. Also managed to sound marginally better than Stransky in the post match interview.

– 4  Bakkies – Didn’t get carded or cited after the game. Responded to being spear tackled early on with great restraint and only the use of his elbow.

– 3  The Good Doctor – Looked WAAAAY better than John at prop when he came back on late in the 2nd half. And people say he can’t really scrum?! Kept Bryce guessing as to who was going to ground first in the early engagements. Job done.

– 2  Gaddafi – Smit – line-out throwing was good. selflessly allowed the team to almost get going again by going off injured towards the end of the game.

– 1   The Beast – Kept the crowd interested, made a few tackles, made a few runs, looked the best in the new BMW shorts.

Add to that the fact that we “only lost on the scoreboard” and, well, we’re surely on the right track folks. Glory is just around the corner.

A glimpse into the future: John Smit at the 2015 World Cup

Letter to the Editor: Who has the moral high ground?

We received this letter from one of our readers today and to do it justice it gets the full post today.  The author Clyde can be found on Twitter at @clydesta and gets our follow recommendation for his defence of PdV and the “B” team tactics.

Thanks for the letter Clyde!

“Let me start off by saying two things:

1. I am not Peter de Villiers’ biggest fan, not by a long shot.

2. I have nothing against All Blacks coach Graham Henry being honest about resting players for the S.A. leg of the Tri-Nations.

It’s okay to query the questionable tactics and player selections, fine. It’s also okay to ponder some of the strange utterances our dear coach makes regarding mechanics, ballerinas and ‘injured’ players.

Regardless of the media uproar, many loyal Springbok supporters believe our coach did the right thing by resting our top Boks for the away leg of the Tri-Nations, particularly after a taxing and arduously long Super Rugby season.

What I do have issue with, is the self-righteous attitude of some of the S.A. sports media fraternity, who feel it is their duty to belittle our coach at every opportunity. The clown references are funny, sure, but I believe we need a clown to navigate our media circus. A circus indeed, barring many respected, objective critics of course. How quick we are to judge, without really knowing all the goings-on that happened in the training (or ‘recuperation’) camp.

To my point: It’s simply not okay to make out that Graham Henry has some sort of ‘moral high ground’ for saying he has rested some players for the S.A. leg of the Tri-Nations, and not saying that they’re injured as Pdivvy has done.

From my point of view, it is infinitely easier to skirt the SANZAR ruling that you must field ‘your best available team’ when your counterpart (Pdivvy) has already rested his best players for the away leg. Bear in mind, that many of our Springboks were in fact injured (some still are). Bear in mind also, that it’s so much easier to field your best starting line-up from the relative comforts of your own country, and to then rotate players in the squad accordingly.

No-one is making more fuss of the Rustenburg reconditioning camp than our own fickle S.A. media.

Here’s hoping that our ‘A’ team can avoid the embarrassment of a first-ever Tri-Nations whitewash this Saturday, and that the PE NZ supporters go home suitably demoralised.”

~ @clydesta

Boks too busy playing Farmville to practice for Aussie test

That was bitterly disappointing. While Rassie’s tactic of giving all the Boks iPads to play Farmville at the Rustenburg training camp may have made the boys from Pretoria bond with the boys from Cape Town by trading tractors, it seems to have completely screwed up their ability to play rugby. The Springboks have gone backwards since they lifted the World Cup trophy four years ago – and all signs point to the coaching staff.  PdV will rightly try to point to a British Lions series win, a Tri-Nations title and two away wins in New Zealand as achievements. He’s right, but the problem is – that’s not enough.

The Boks racked up an impressive Farmville score at the Rustenburg camp but clearly didn't put in any time doing actual rugby training.

When the Boksburg stood at the tippy top of the rugby world in 2007, an era of Bok dominance should have started. The Kiwis were rebuilding, the English were battered into submission and the Aussies were trying to pick up the fragments of the post John Eales era. The rugby world was ours for the taking – and we cocked it up with the usual “new expansive rugby”, political interference and stupid selections.

So on the eve of the World Cup we are back to square one. Pick what’s left of World Cup final team, those who haven’t retired and aren’t injured. That’s all we can offer after 4 years.

In the Boks’ defence they can make the arguments about rustiness and the returns from injury. That’s all we have fellas… the hope that a few more weeks will solve their “rustiness”.

Two players stood out as playing well. The man-crush Heinrich Brussow and the brother of contributor here Dr Jannie – the more ambitiously named Bismarck. But as for the rest of them, the sight of our scrum going backward with John Smit at tight head was all you needed to see.  That single scrum must now settle once and for all that John is not a prop.

let’s not forgot that the team that just killed us twice in a row lost to Samoa before they beat us. Samoa! If we don’t seriously pick up our game we are at risk for our worst World Cup ever, not even making it out of the group stages. If the same players who won you a World Cup are delivering trash when it matters, then one can only point to the coaches and administrators as the difference makers.

It’s very flash to have Rassie arrive at the training camp with his new iPad and for him to show how to master Angry Birds and Farmville while he waits on the bench behind Smit and Bismarck, but now we need some real coaching. PdV, Dick Muir and Gary Gold had better stop spending their evenings watching box sets of Richard Pryor and Monty Python for inspiration for their “performance art” media conferences and need to start doing some real coaching.

The knives are sharpening gentlemen… can you hear them?

Wallabies vs All Blacks – detailed game analysis

How tiny are Richie Mccaw’s ears? I’ve never seen anything like it. I can’t look away from the screen – they have drawn me in, like hypnotic circling cobras…

I think this may be why he is so effective at the ruck and maul – opponents and referees are simply mesmerized by how small those ears are.

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On the road with Chilli Boy: 3

My best "Pretending to be listening to Dick" face...

Hi gang,

Well firstly, sorry about Saturday’s game. 40-7 isn’t pretty, is it? And while we’re at it 33 missed tackles isn’t great either, right? Yeah, we know…but as Coach Div says, sh&t happens…

But do you really want to know what isn’t pretty? Do you want to know what’s 1000 times worse than 33 missed tackles? Do you??

How does having Crowded House playing 24 / 7 sound to you? I’m talking about Crowded House playing on every radio station, Crowded House playing in every restaurant, in our hotel lobby, in our hotel rooms, on every TV channel,  when I switch the bathroom lights on, when I flush the toilet, outside my window at night when I’m trying to fall asleep…everywhere you go in this country it’s FRICKIN’ CROWDED HOUSE !!!

I know the Kiwi’s love to moan about the whole “Susie” fiasco back in ’95, but this is really taking things to the next level. Honestly, a lot of the boys were really quite upset by it, so much so in fact that Dean Greyling almost didn’t take to the field on Saturday. He was badly shook up and only an impromptu acoustic performance of “Hier kom die Bokke” by Gary in the changing room minutes before kick-off managed to snap him out of his zombie like trance. (By the way, Gary also does a pretty mean version of “Toxic” by Britney, which is available for download at his myspace page www.thegoldenchild.myspace.com ). It’s not an excuse for our performance, but our fans back home have a right to know just how challenging it is to play rugby in New Zealand.

I’m not going to lie to you folks, it’s been a tough old tour, but on the plus side there have been a few valuable lessons learnt, for example:

  •  If John asks you at dinner whether you’re done with your chips, you say “Yes”.
  • Always allow the air to settle for a  full 15 minutes before using the bathroom after Flip.
  • Never take what Coach Div says literally.
  • Always have your headphones handy when it’s Dicks’ turn to speak.
  • Don’t allow Ruan to get started talking about his “European Awakening”. He’ll never shut up.
  • Don’t challenge Danie at SingStar or Wynand at Twister.
  • Don’t allow Ashley to borrow any hair products.
  • Don’t lock yourself out of your hotel room wearing only a pair of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles underpants.
  • And possibly the most important one of all, delete all Crowded House tracks from any portable music players immediately!

Well folks, it’s been a pleasure writing to you all over the last few weeks. We’re really excited about getting back home and catching up on what we’ve missed in Binnelanders. Apologies again for not being able to sneak a win on the road. We tried. Sort of.

Until next time,

Chilli

The Dumb and Dumber Bok kicking strategy

Oy vey… 40-7. A drubbing in any language. We’ve already skewered and quartered the squad last week – so what’s left for this week?

Hmm… oh yeah. Dick Muir and Gary Gold escaped a mention last week. So here goes.

I know very little about rugby – hence the reason I blog, instead of play or coach. But something stuck out to the untrained eye on Saturday. Almost every try scored by the All Blacks was preceded by a really awful Springbok kick. I really can’t understand the thinking. The Bok coaching staff have to realise that a new squad are going to struggle to form a cohesive defensive structure. So why the instruction to hoist the ball upfield aimlessly, right down the All Black back three’s throats and then dare them to run at you while your defensive structure is out of alignment? And if that wasn’t the instruction, if Morne Steyn just decided to wing it and ignore the coaching strategy, then why didn’t you send on the waterboy to bean him in the face for ignoring you?

What the hell? We at least expected some coaching from all of the staff SARFU have hired.  Really Dick Muir? 33 missed tackles?  Guess that’s your influence on the strategy of downplaying defense.

I’m not even angry at Deon Stegmann anymore – after all he isn’t picking himself to play. But how do the three coaches justify selecting a player whose understanding of the rules of rugby is like an 8-year old’s grasp on the plot of Inception after wandering in halfway through the movie? How do you select a player whose defence resembles the turnstiles at Ratanga Junction on the first day of summer holidays?

I’m a big boy now, I can handle loss. But it really gets up my nose when the coaching staff and players don’t seem to understand WHY they lost. I’ve gotten zero comfort from the fact that the three coaches seem to think that the reason for the scoreline was that they made too many turnovers. It’s not that simple guys.  Your problems run much deeper.

Things are not looking great. Sure Jake White took 47 against the Aussies and went on to win the World Cup. But I’m not feeling that good about this time around. I’ve always been highly annoyed by coaches who trundle out the “judge me on my World Cup performance” line. It is so Rudolf Straeuli 2003. I’m still waiting to shove my lemon pie in Straeuli’s face – and I suspect I won’t get my turn. It’s not just that they lost.   It’s how they lost. They played like they weren’t Boks.  And I find it hard to believe that the players are solely to blame for that.

Dick Muir and Gary Gold discussing their genius plan to take down the All Blacks with an aimless pointless kicking game..