Peter de Villiers ‘Will work for food!’

I’ll be the first to admit that Big Daddy Rugby is occasionally guilty of  using a pinch of artistic licence  to help spice-up the odd post or two. Why wouldn’t we…the rugby world needs a bit of help in loosening its jockstrap every so often.

There are exceptions of course! Anything involving Gavin Henson, Peter de Villiers and the entire England rugby squad for instance. When it comes to these particular cats, the sh*t just writes itself.

Take for example our friend and former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers. He’s obviously been smoking a bit more crack than usual, apparent by his recent comments to the press. With even less capacity to ‘forgive and forget’ than Tony Soprano, he’s still ranting on about Bryce Lawrence’s performance in the match that dare not speak its name.

The ex-Springbok coach 'hard at work' in better times.

He’s clearly been putting his time out-of-work to good use by crunching the figures in a special Excel spreadsheet, having recently claimed:

“Bryce Lawrence makes, on average, six mistakes a game, which is a good average for a referee. In that game he made 48 mistakes, six of which were match-costing.”

I’d just love to see a Gantt chart representation of that, wouldn’t you?! So there you have it ladies and gentlemen of the jury, as clear evidence of match-fixing as you would want. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not trying to defend Lawrence! Oh no…that would be like trying to defend Hitler for espousing an over-enthusiastic birth control policy. But PdV trying to blame the Aussie ref for the demise of his subsequent coaching career and backing that up with a weird ‘Da Vinci code type theory’ is just plain foolish.

Soprano…I mean, de Villiers, went on to say:

“So, Bryce mumbled an apology to the world. This means nothing! Did he really apologise for exactly what he did? He needs to tell South Africa exactly what it is that he is apologising for. For match-fixing? For inefficiency? For what?? How am I supposed to forgive him if I don’t know exactly what for?”

Well said sir! If South Africa as a nation has learnt anything from the Truth & Reconciliation hearings, it was that you can’t forgive and ‘move on’ until you know what exactly it is you’re forgiving someone for. If I poked you in the eye for no apparent reason, you’re not going to be content with a ‘sorry mate’. Lawrence needs to be hauled in front of Archbishop Tutu so that he can confess his sins; so that Saffa rugby fans can forget the past; so that our buddy Peter can finally bury the hatchet. Deep in Bryce Lawrence’s back.

You gotta feel for PdV though. The poor guy’s obviously going through a bit of a low patch. I certainly struggled to keep a stiff upper lip when he opened-up all ‘Oprah-like’ by saying:

“I feel a bit useless at the moment. Sitting back home and nobody shows interest in trying to draw from experience that I do have.” 

Bless his little rugby socks. To be honest though Pete (and we know he appreciates honesty), I wouldn’t hold my breath for the phone to ring off the hook with top-notch coaching offers. Having said that, I do hear they’re looking to hire a Chico the Clown mascot down at the local Spur steak ranch. So it’s not looking all bad!

If only he'd just read the coaching manual it could've all been so different.

Bryce Lawrence ‘not welcome’ in South Africa

Sanzar recently confirmed that the controversial New Zealand referee has not been invited to officiate over any Super Rugby matches taking place in South Africa this year.

Sanzar’s referee boss Lyndon Bray stressed that the decision is in no way a reflection of Lawrence’s professionalism or linked to his clinical blindness, a condition he has suffered with since birth, but purely to avoid the medical bill and law suit associated with the obligatory pistol whipping as soon as the ref set foot on SA soil.

Lawrence was not available for comment, but his guide dog Kurtley is said to be very distraught by the decision, having repeatedly pooped on his favourite Kashmir rug – a gift from close friend Robbie Deans during the World Cup.

Bryce Lawrence's welcome committee gather at Oliver Tambo airport

Finding a reason to get up in the morning

Tin foil hat 2

It's not all doom and gloom. You might be able to find a positive ray of sunshine somewhere on the horizon. Image via Wikipedia

The first version of this post was simply one word that began with an F and ended with a K.  The second version of this post added the words Bryce Lawrence to it.  But I decided that complaining excessively about the ref is not a good place to be. It’s the kind of thing that ends up in you wearing a tin foil hat and reading David Icke.  Besides I’ve said everything I need to say about Bryce when became the first legally blind man to ref at a test match level. If you’re like me you need a better reason than that to drag yourself to work today.  Especially if you were one of those wearing a Bok shirt on Friday talking up a good game.

So here are some positives you can take out of the fact that the Boks crashed out of the World Cup:

  • your suspicions about Peter de Villiers being a crap coach were proven right, the only statistic that matters is the scoreboard in the knockouts and by that measure, PdV ends up in with Straueli, minus the public shame of having dragged the Bok name to new lows (people forget that however embarrassing it may have been to have had PdV as coach – it was nothing compared to Straueli)
  • You won’t have to listen to the “expert insights” of your coworkers as they explain to you why they think Bismarck du Plessis is a better hooker than Smittie for the 10th time.
  • PdV did the honorable thing and resigned before he was pushed. He’s no Syrian/Libyan/Egyptian/ANCYL/Zimbabwean despot.
  • Heinrich Brussouw is one step closer to getting the Bok captaincy
  • The squad that is left behind has a lot of promise. Francois Steyn, Gio Aplon, Andries Bekker, Bismarck du Plessis, Frankie Hougaard, Schalk Burger and the Lambo all look they will flourish under the right coaching setup
  • Even the good doctor Jannie looked solid at tight-head
  • No more Darren Scott at Supersport
  • New coaches always clean house after a poor World Cup showing. Pierre Spies, Bryan Habana and Fourie du Preez can now be honestly compared to their rivals.
  • You won’t have to listen to Bobby Skinstad justifying Habana’s place in the team by saying “he’ll peak at the World Cup”
  • SA Rugby management tends to go in cycles when they respond to a failure. An inspiriational/visionary type coach like Carel du Plessis or Peter de Villiers is likely to be followed by a technical coach.  Sure vision and passion and all of that fluffy stuff is important, but you also need to understand that if you kick the ball aimlessly upfield a good team will hurt you. SA rugby picked Mallet last time they were in this position. There are a lot of good coaches out there.

Well that’s about all I can muster. If that doesn’t quite get me back, I’ll be returning to position I found myself in for most of Sunday. In the fetal position, clutching a bottle of Johnnie Walker, crying incessantly, looking at old photos of my under 10 rugby team wondering where it all went wrong.

Bryce Lawrence: Endorsements 101

Oh dear…I think someone might need to have a quiet word with “Dean from Dublin”…

I’m no expert but surely asking someone who’s consistently wrong to endorse you or your product isn’t the best move in the book?

Or is this just another example of that saying “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” ?

At least Bryce looks pretty relaxed…must be that “Deep sports’ massage” he’s just had…which I suppose kind of means that Dean is actually doing a pretty decent job…

Way to go Silas, you knob…


Bryce Lawrence: the first legally blind man to officiate a Super Rugby match

Here at Big Daddy Rugby our girlfriends and wives readers often accuse us of being too cynical and mean-spirited.  So we thought we’d cover a feel good story for a change. One of those triumphs of the human spirit/overcoming the odds stories that will get you through an otherwise bleak work week.  We’re putting the spotlight on a true human inspiration – Bryce Lawrence: the first legally blind man to officiate a Super Rugby match.

Bryce Lawrence shortly before the Sharks Crusaders match

Set back as he is by his inability to actually see anything in front of him, Bryce has had to overcome more obstacles than most in order to referee at the highest level. Most people who are incapable of spotting a forward pass, late hit or foot on the touch line might decide that officiating a professional sport probably isn’t a good career choice.  But plucky Bryce has kept at it and despite his inability to penalize anything resembling a New Zealander, Bryce has been awarded the highest honours a referee can be given – officiating at both Super Rugby and Test Rugby.

On Saturday our plucky referee had the whistle for a crucial knock out game between the Sharks and Crusaders.  He put in a brave performance and his blindness was only evident for a few occasions.   Sure, he penalized the Beast for a “dangerous engagement” BEFORE the Beast actually engaged with his opposite number and he had a general disregard for New Zealand hands all over the pill at ruck time, but critical Sharks fans must remember the tremendous obstacles Bryce has had to overcome in order to officiate.

For someone who is incapable of sight, his performance with the whistle showed a lot of moxie.  For that Bryce, you’re an inspiration to us all.

Besides Sharks fans – it’s not like having a sighted official would have made a difference.