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Will Smit do honorable thing?

2010-12-01 08:34

Rob Houwing

Amidst the vigorous debate surrounding head coach Peter de Villiers and his ticket – or not – to the World Cup, people seem to have rather tiptoed around another complex issue: is it really so clear-cut that John Smit will reassume the team leadership reins from stand-in Victor Matfield?

From the point of view of pure captaincy credentials, it is probably true to say that Smit continues to eclipse Matfield, who has been a loyal disciple of his at national level for several years yet led the weakened Bok squad with some aplomb on the end-of-year mission.

If the acting skipper did one thing beyond all dispute in Britain and Ireland recently, it was confirm his ongoing reputation as the premier lineout forward on the planet, while his general play – not to mention courage at Twickenham after damaging a rib -- fell mostly into the lead-by-example category as well.

Yes, powered by especially immense personal performances against Ireland and England, the Blue Bulls captain, 33, totally put to bed any murmurs that he might be a little too long in the tooth for a crack at World Cup retention in 2011.

And the possibility that he, rather than Smit, may lead the troops at the New Zealand showpiece stays a matter very much on the table, by my reckoning.

It is for the simple reason that the supposed first-choice captain has quite a battle on his hands – and he will know it, too -- to convince the Bok brains trust, critics and fans alike that he will be worth his place in the starting line-up.

Um, and which place will that be, into the delicate bargain?

Here’s a refresher on the Smit state of affairs: the unconvincing tight-head prop experiment firmly out of the way, he led the Boks back at his more familiar hooker’s berth during their poor Tri-Nations 2010 campaign.

But the beefy 32-year-old also stood accused at times of lacking the necessary dynamism and mobility at No 2 (although his bacon was arguably saved by the absence at the time of his key challenger and Sharks team-mate Bismarck du Plessis, slowly feeling his way along the return road from injury via the Currie Cup).

That, of course, is no longer the case: for “Bizzie” is very much back ... he may well have produced the most inspired rugby of his career thus far on the Grand Slam tour, culminating in being named Sky television’s man-of-the-match against England.

Not only did he perform his staple chores with aplomb (except at rain-drenched Murrayfield where he lost the throw-in plot over a 20-minute period) but he was also a forceful factor at the breakdown – even showing specialist fetcher Deon Stegmann a thing or two on occasion in turnover-winning terms.

Du Plessis may just be the world’s best hooker right now: how could be possibly, under current circumstances, be asked to play second fiddle to Smit there?
With Bismarck’s brother Jannie having pleasingly emerged as a tight-head “rock” for the Boks this year -- after some two or three years in which the jury was largely out over him -- a return to that slot for Smit is massively unlikely.

So maybe loose-head prop is a better option. By its very definition, the spot allows for a slightly “looser” approach and there are whispers that Smit will get game-time there for the Sharks in the Super 15 – he has shown up well at times on that side of the front row.

But massively complicating that prospect, too, is the fact that No 1 is a department where Bok rugby is already better stocked than most: Messrs Beast Mtawarira, also a leading light in the northern hemisphere during November, and Gurthro Steenkamp (the not trifling matter of SA Rugby’s player of the year!) take care of that happy state of affairs.

What, then, is on Smit’s side as he casts a perhaps slightly nervous look to his Bok role in 2011? As said before, his leadership itself seems a little lopsidedly his strongest suit at present.

He edges Matfield, I suspect, in all of strategic nous, motivational gifts and also the hardly unimportant area of public relations and diplomacy, although that is not to say the Bulls player is actually weak in these respects.

Might Smit, for instance, have “worked” Stu Dickinson a little more cleverly than Matfield did, when the Bok lock slightly lost his rag with the official at Murrayfield and the South Africans kept on conceding slews of penalties?

In addition, there are thought to be several senior Springboks who still fancy most going to war with and for John Smit.

But in pure playing terms, the dice looks more loaded against Smit now than it did before the Grand Slam tour started.

Can those ageing legs somehow drag him to unexpected new personal heights as a hooker or possibly, once more, prop?

Personally, I hope he at least makes a brave fist of the challenge; I wouldn’t be so stupid as to write the guy off. The qualities he brings to the party and proven track record at the tiller must not summarily be pooh-poohed.

Smit is a proud, determined and admirable man. But I would not discount the possibility, some time in the next few weeks or months, that the distinguished servant makes an “announcement” after deep contemplation of his precarious position.

Read into that what you will ...

Rob is Sport24's chief writer

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.
 

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Comments
  • Gorilla - 2010-12-01 08:44

    I think both Victor and Smit should step aside and Juan should captain the squad.

      Whuyu - 2010-12-01 09:03

      Clearly, Gorilla, you need to go back to the forrests, as it is clear you know nada about rugby with this dof comment. Victor still has much to offer to SA rugby, as proven on the tour to the North. As for Smit - that is another story..............

      bbmjames24 - 2010-12-01 12:17

      @ Whuyu: WHAT! You say Victor has what to offer, prehaps a bad back, he's days are gone, He has nothing left to offer to Springbok rugby. As for the tour to the north, that just proves my case, one of the worst displays of springbok rugby ever! Jean or Juan for cpt!

      ChumScrubber - 2010-12-01 18:26

      I agree, Juan should captain the team. Whuyu - I don't think he was suggesting Victor stops playing, I think he's referring to the captaincy issue. james - come on, Matfield is a brilliant player. What were you watching?

      Jay - 2010-12-01 19:07

      You all miss something, if you look at the footage of the team changing room during the tour, one face is always there talking to the players, and that face is John Smit......he was there for the tour as a guide and important person to the team. He has one last huraa available to him. Go get em boys!

  • 0832766594k - 2010-12-01 08:44

    Why did'nt we see the exceptional leadership skills during the trination?

  • RuggaWorld - 2010-12-01 08:53

    Was Francois Pienaar the best number 6 in 1995?

      Makutu - 2010-12-01 09:21

      This is not 1995. Smit will be a liability. He needs to simply GO! With all due respect.

  • sporto24 - 2010-12-01 09:06

    gorilla, - you are an ape dude!!

      bbmjames24 - 2010-12-01 12:18

      You are most prabably a bull supporte hey Sporto!

  • a.j.bosch - 2010-12-01 09:07

    Would Rob Houwing do the honourable (yes there is a "u" in there) thing and quit, because there are better writers than him? I find the way in which anything negative about Smit is portrayed as fact, but anything positive about Smit is lead with a "probably true to say" or a "I suspect". Do the honourable thing Rob. Why don't YOU lead by example?

      JuaKali - 2010-12-01 10:21

      I am with you AJ. Rob, why use the word honourable in this context? By implication you are saying that he is not honourable if he does not resign - and knowledgeable rugby followers from all over the world (are you one of them?) know that he has spades and spades of honour. We get the point that it is a dilemma (Smit vs the alternatives of Bizzie and Victor filling his roles) but this is a poor article. And, Rob, if you are not going to do the "honourable thing" suggested by AJ then at least use fewer flowery adjectives in your writing. Makes your articles very fairytale-ish, and most of us have grown out of fairytales.

      MaLemmer - 2010-12-01 10:51

      Howing was using an American spell-checker!

      BardofAvon - 2010-12-02 07:35

      erm, a.j. bosch, it's "better writers than he", not "better writers than him". Just by the way. Tsk tsk.

  • a.j.bosch - 2010-12-01 09:08

    Would Rob Houwing do the honourable (yes there is a "u" in there) thing and quit, because there are better writers than him? I find the way in which anything negative about Smit is portrayed as fact, but anything positive about Smit is lead with a "probably true to say" or a "I suspect" rather revealing. Do the honourable thing Rob. Why don't YOU lead by example?

      Sheriff - 2010-12-01 16:31

      I agree mate!

  • diejaap - 2010-12-01 09:17

    I feel that Bismarck deserves his starting position in the line up. We should have proper props at the world cup, no converted hooker. I will however take John Smit to the world cup as the replacement hooker! Thereby we can use all his people skills like motivation etc. in the squad. He will be an asset coming into the last 20 min. if games are tight and therefore his calming invluence will be a missive asset. Just a thought.

      StaalBurgher - 2010-12-01 10:32

      Was thinking that too, but how can the captain be the replacement for 20 minutes? Does that not sound odd?

      ChumScrubber - 2010-12-01 18:30

      I think your idea is good. Hopefully he shapes up before the world cup. Juan or Victor can captain the team, maybe he can come on as a sort of vice captain in the last 20. John is simply not good enough to start on current form, maybe he'll shock us in the Super 15. (Hope so)

      Skubbe - 2010-12-01 21:16

      My thoughts exactly! Our team are full of experienced leaders to carry the team through, and John can give his all for the last 20min when tight games are won or lost. John is NOT a prop. Bissie IS the best hooker in world rugby right now. John IS the best leader, but quickly nearing the end of his career. Only solution I can think of.

  • gordon5209 - 2010-12-01 09:22

    Right on the money Rob, maybe the solution to the problem is for John to use Bob Skinstad as an example, also a Bok captain albeit of not such great stature, but he played at great role at 2007 RWC as a motivator, impact player and general stabiliser of the squad but not as a first choice player. Doing that everybody wins, the team have John along to assit with the leadership role and John being part of the squad (hopefully) gets his medal

  • CATSHEAD - 2010-12-01 09:25

    Let John travel to NZ as the "assistant manager/coach". Then he can field all the media questions (and give Div a break) and still be there to inspire his team.

      Andy49 - 2010-12-01 16:42

      rather let him stay at home and write another book slating this team mates.

      BardofAvon - 2010-12-02 07:37

      CATSHEAD that is a brilliant suggestion. Then everybody wins.

  • demorgue - 2010-12-01 09:33

    my concern is not that much about Victor or Smit captaining - both will be in the team I think with Smit playing the first 50-60mins and bismack coming on for him and Victor captaining until end of the game. Smit is their leader and thats the way it is. My concern is that the whole Plan A gameplan relies on Fourie Du Preez coming back into the game after a year out of rugby at any level and suddenly being back to his superb best with only 4 tests before the world cup. It takes a while to get test fit and I hope we are not relying too much on one man that has been injured for a year and may not be able to play as he did before.

      umdloti - 2010-12-01 10:11

      I wouldn't worry too much about FdP. Such class and ability don't fade after time away from the game. In fact, I believe he is going to come back with more energy and desire. FdP is going to own 2011. The best tactical scrumhalf I have ever seen. He will help turn the Boks back into the machine they were.

  • sheffieldhs - 2010-12-01 09:52

    Strange in all the Bok games that I watched where John Smit played and then sub-stituted in the last 20 minutes, the whole Bok game fell apart. With the opponent scoring liberally and the Boks on tremendous pressure trying to save things, they hardly won with a scrape or not at all... is this leadership only or what? Bismarck has something to contribute and he may also think that he has secured his spot in the team for 2011. I would like him to not only have proved himself in an end of year Grand Slam tour, give him the whole of 2011 to prove himself. I am a Sharks supporter and he gives away lots of penalties and everyone will hate him, come RWC 2011 and we lose because of all the penalties given away... Although he played well recently, don't get carried away as yet...

      StaalBurgher - 2010-12-01 10:33

      That was because he was being replaced with Chilliboy while Bismarck was injured.

  • mba - 2010-12-01 10:08

    Well written article and as a John Smit supporter, I found it very balanced. This is a huge quandary for the selectors as there is little doubt that the likes of Bismarck du Plessis are playing better rugby. However, Nick Mallett conceded at a rugby breakfast that one of his greatest regrets as coach of the Bok team to the world cup in 1999, was not taking the best captain. This was in reference to Gary Teichman who was unceremoniously dumped by Mallett at the time. The irony of this statement was that this breakfast was held shortly before the boks left for the 1997 world cup and Mallett’s comments where in reaction to a question about John Smit’s form and his ability to then lead the team. We know the result of the world cup and anyone who has a real knowledge of the game will agree that our championship winning tournament was in large part due to the immense role John Smit had to play as captain. Cometh the hour, cometh the man is perhaps the most decisive factor when considering John Smit. He has proven time and time again that he is up to the task and I firmly believe we will be worse off without him.

      Makutu - 2010-12-01 11:47

      You play Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, USA, England twice amd Argentina and you are a World Champ. Oh my word!!! John Smit is not what you think he is in my opinion. The man is finished goods. Get over him as soon as you can.

      Corry - 2010-12-01 12:55

      Mallet's dropping of teichman had NOTHING to do with rugby form but rather Mallet's ego. After the disasterous test against the AB's where Gaffie du Toit and Dave von Hoesslin were debuts he put the blame on them. Mallet was kaaking du Toit out in a big way when Teich's grabbed Mallet and told him "if you ever talk to one of my players like that I'll fk you up". Mallet couldn't take that challenge and dropped Teichmann. Mallet was also riding a wave of succes stemming from Carel du Plessis' team. Once he started choosing his players the team's performances started to wane.

      ChumScrubber - 2010-12-01 18:37

      Good point Corry, it was Carels team that put 60 points over the Aussies. Can't remember why Carel was axed? And dropping Teich probably cost us a world cup final - did not know about the incident you just described - interesting. Mallet is then possibly responsible for breaking Gaffies self confidence - he never reached the heights everyone was convinced he would.

  • StaalBurgher - 2010-12-01 10:31

    Good article. Smit's position is a tough one and perhaps himself making the needed decision is the best for everyone. Bismarck is a giant and only playing him for 20-30 minutes from the bench would be a travesty. But you can hardly start the captain on the bench can you? I think we must all except the reality, no matter how hard it is. Can we think of another situation that sounds similar to this? Tough decisions that must be made for the good of Springbok rugby. For those asking whether Francois Pienaar, Gary Teichman etc were the best in their positions at the time they played/were dropped respectively; they were not playing against Bismarck du Plessis. The disparity in current skill was not that huge.

      Shaka_Mehlom - 2010-12-01 13:13

      Staal - not sure you are the M+R Detective from the Old Brixton , but if you are , you will recall the flour bom 1981 AB test series . Wynand was Captain , but did not lead the side onto the field in the first test . PdV cannot remotely instal + inspire into the minds , what our man Barney can . Bismarck is the form 80 minute player at the moment , but we cannot leave our man Barney behind . Ndiyabonga Mhlekaze .

      jmvrek - 2010-12-01 14:56

      I suspect the selectors will do the same thing they did in 2009, by picking John at prop, and then replacing him when the game is won, or almost won. If they were to drop John, they would have done it in 2008 already. It was clear then and still is now that he is not the best at hooker or prop, but neither were any of our other successful captains at their respective positions. He has a calm head under pressure, and that is exectly what you need in a World Cup.

  • themantshepo - 2010-12-01 10:31

    chilliboy or Mvovo will be the captain at next years world cup no matter what

      chrislaz8592 - 2010-12-01 10:54

      you don't have a clue about rugby, trying to rattle the cage here with your racists remarks, just because they are black!

      sannahan - 2010-12-01 15:04

      Why draw Mvovo into this? He has the makings to make a big impact at the 2011 WC. Silly remark. Rather support him because he can be an inspiration to many young black players who can also make a difference in the future - on MERIT!

  • Craig - 2010-12-01 11:07

    This is really something to think about - and I have also been thinking about this for some time. It will probably be our most difficult decision to make come RWC 2011. Currently our front row is at its best and it will probably not the best to disrupt it now. On the topic of Leadership and Smit's ability to get the team behind him - not so sure that it is still that way - during the Tri-Nations he was not able to do that when all the odds were against us. We fell apart under pressure and Smit could do nothing about that. During the Grand Slam - we were more together as a team, although we were not at our best. Guys put their bodies on the line and kept at it for the long periods. Do you not think Victor had something to do with that. Smit probably needs to hang his boots up now. He could always join the team in some Technical role, so that he can still motivate the team and kind of still have some input. We need to win the RWC with best players and if he can't out play a team-mate then he needs to be man enough to step down - he still needs to fight for his place by surrender if he is not the best.

  • colin.kennedy - 2010-12-01 11:20

    Matfield's meltdown against Scotland mate. Look no further.

      Makutu - 2010-12-01 11:40

      1 match only. How about 5 John Smit meltdowns in the TriNations. Or the France and Irland games in the past 3 years?

  • goyougoodthing - 2010-12-01 11:48

    Of course Smit won't, just like Muir and Dv won't.

  • Agile - 2010-12-01 12:16

    Man, this Rob Houwing guy is a seriously annoying, pompous @sshole.

      AJ - 2010-12-02 06:53

      Not sure how you gleaned all that from the article? Most if not all of it was rugby related.

  • Mozez - 2010-12-01 12:19

    a lot will depend on how Smit does on his comeback from injury. pity he will be playing S15 rugby at the same franchise as Bissie. it would have been nice to gauge both of them over an extended run...

  • bbmjames24 - 2010-12-01 12:21

    Mattfields gonna lose his place to Becker in any case come the world cup!

      pcpcoetzee89 - 2010-12-01 15:13

      BEKKER is somewhere in a Cape Town park bru ... forget about him! Wonder about the following - MATFIELD did what he should have done during the TRI NATIONS ... his work rate was up there all the way - the BOKS losing the TRI NATIONS was CERTAINLY NOT HIS FAULT ... rather a totally absent backline, yellow cards falling down like snow and a mind boggling game plan of kicking away everything in sight! This story of "some BOKS prefering to go to war with SMIT rather than MATFIELD" is a candy floss urban legend! Who are these BOKS and what are their real reasons for prefering SMIT? Nope ... it is a story which was launched by some one ... without any substance! MATFIELD and SMIT are close mates ... MATFIELD and DE VILLIERS are close mates ... MATFIELD and JUAN are close mates - so what is the problem? JOHN SMIT (i have HUGE RESPECT for him!!) can only get back into the fray if he proves himself to be the BEST HOOKER in this Country ...

      AJ - 2010-12-02 06:55

      If Matfield was not going to the World Cup, (despite what SA detractors might say) I can guarantee you every other Rugby Federation from NZ, to Argentina and up north to Scotland would organise a fireworks evening complete with dancing girls and a beer tent just to celebrate it!

  • Big_Jon - 2010-12-01 13:02

    THe question with Smit is a difficult one and I do not profess to have the answers but I will add something more to contemplate: in rugby, it is said that you are only as good as your last game... and Smit's last game was the Bloemfontein game against Australia. Although we lost, I am sure most would agree that Smit was invaluable in that game. And I don't hink he should be anywhere else except Hooker...

  • jmvrek - 2010-12-01 15:01

    An even more pressing question? Brussouw/Burger/Rossouw/Alberts/Spies? Only Juan can be a certain pick.

  • MarkStruwig - 2010-12-01 15:11

    Totally disagree... Matfield's melt down during the Scotland game proved it. No I say keep Smit there because he leads bloody well... just the coaching that has flummoxed (English SA spell-checker)

  • Derek - 2010-12-01 15:48

    I agree with Makutu. John Smit has been a good captain and a great South African but his days at test level are certainly over. Bismarck is streets ahead and is playing like a man posssesed, even his discipline was on song. And, yes who tested us in the world cup? We did not have to take on AB, Aus, France and England were improving but not enough.Pick the best team possible,and in my mind that makes Victor or Juan captain and I think Mvovo should replace Habana in the starting line-up.

  • Anti-Bsht - 2010-12-01 16:03

    Mr Howling, Your article - Will Smit do honorable (honourable) thing? – refers. No doubt that you are a well educated person and an accomplished journalist and as a newspaper columnist* and or journalist** with an opinion***, I find your articles most of the time very interesting when you stick to what a journalist is suppose to do, i.e. reporting**** the facts and not your own opinion. This is something people in your position, nowadays seems to forget. For you to suggest that John Smit must do the “honorable thing” is your opinion, which you are entitle to, but NOT when you use this media as forum to express your opinion. Please stick to what you are getting paid to do – reporting the facts – then I, as the reader, can make up my own mind about the particular issue. It is for John Smit to decide what to do and not for you to suggest anything. This letter is not about John Smit – it’s about the fact that journalists in general seems to have forgotten what their job description is. I’m sure, I’m not the only one being annoyed by that. Definitions of: Columnist* = A journalist who writes a regular column for a newspaper or magazine. Journalist** = A person reporting for newspapers, radio, or television. Someone whose job it is to report the news for a newspaper, magazine, radio programme, or television programme. Opinion*** = A view somebody takes about an issue, especially when it is based solely on personal judgment. Reporting*** = (transitive and intransitive verb) to find out facts and tell people about them in print or a broadcast. So, being a columnist / journalist - Please note that the word reporting features strongly in the definition does not allow for opinions / personal judgement but only the facts.

  • Anti-Bsht - 2010-12-01 16:04

    Mr Howling, Your article - Will Smit do honorable (honourable) thing? – refers. No doubt that you are a well educated person and an accomplished journalist and as a newspaper columnist* and or journalist** with an opinion***, I find your articles most of the time very interesting when you stick to what a journalist is suppose to do, i.e. reporting**** the facts and not your own opinion. This is something people in your position, nowadays seems to forget. For you to suggest that John Smit must do the “honorable thing” is your opinion, which you are entitle to, but NOT when you use this media as forum to express your opinion. Please stick to what you are getting paid to do – reporting the facts – then I, as the reader, can make up my own mind about the particular issue. It is for John Smit to decide what to do and not for you to suggest anything. This letter is not about John Smit – it’s about the fact that journalists in general seems to have forgotten what their job description is. I’m sure, I’m not the only one being annoyed by that. Definitions of: Columnist* = A journalist who writes a regular column for a newspaper or magazine. Journalist** = A person reporting for newspapers, radio, or television. Someone whose job it is to report the news for a newspaper, magazine, radio programme, or television programme. Opinion*** = A view somebody takes about an issue, especially when it is based solely on personal judgment. Reporting*** = (transitive and intransitive verb) to find out facts and tell people about them in print or a broadcast. So, being a columnist / journalist - Please note that the word reporting features strongly in the definition does not allow for opinions / personal judgement but only the facts.

      AJ - 2010-12-02 06:59

      There have been a multitude of such articles across the sporting codes, authors are expected to inject some of their own thoughts into it. You only noticed this now? Besides the fact the author injects his/her own thoughts on a matter actually lays the groundwork for you then to refute or agree yourself, not to post a lesson on the various roles of media engagements that about. Yawn.

      Coop - 2010-12-02 11:34

      It's an OPINION column

  • ChumScrubber - 2010-12-01 18:43

    What worried me during the TriNations is Smit looked absolutely exhausted by halftime every game. Is he prematurely getting old, or was it just burnout from too much rugby. He can't be captain unless fit enough to play 60 minutes at least. I think he needs to lose weight, get more mobile. Maybe he put on weight to be more of a prop, I think this has failed.

      AJ - 2010-12-02 07:00

      Absolutely, and if the 'senior boks' need their mascot, then take him, just dont play him that's all.

  • Johan - 2010-12-01 19:05

    Do not repeat the world cup 1999 campaign it will never work if John Smit is left out of the team . Yes his game play might not be on top but I wanted to warn that if the leader of the team we will not be able to make ends meat in the world cup i can tell you that . In 1999 Teichman was dropped and a new captain was on the throne and guess what we did not win the world cup . Bismarck is good but he cannot replace a good captain , the problem is not the captain but the way we execute our play why can we not repeat last saturday , previously we kicked every bloody ball which is a lot of crap we need to start to expand our came into variations to rip oppisition defence apart and we showed we can .

      Ammie - 2010-12-01 20:07

      Could not agree more- Mallet was brilliant but lost the plot with Teichman in 1999. Smith extremely important for the team. Dont think there is any doubt that he will lead us

  • YoMama - 2010-12-01 20:07

    The very best outcome would be for De Villiers to disappear into the deep dark alleys of Athlone, Smit to be appointed as coach and then Du Plessis to be the number one, number two.

      Muffy - 2010-12-01 22:09

      As a Bok, John Smit and Div supporter, but no rugby expert, I suggest as South African's we get behind the team no matter who is captain, who is couch etc. We may all have our oppinions but at the end of the day they represent us as South Africans and we should support them, all in the team, when they run in to the field, cheer them on. In the history of sport some of the greatest teams have lost championship games and some of the least worthy have won them and one of the very best outcom'es would be for YoMama to disapear behind the boerewors curtain

  • Kevin - 2010-12-02 02:01

    As an AB fan I don't think it will make an ounce of difference as to whether Smit and/or Matfield make it to the WC here next year.Kiwis don't see in Sth Africa a big threat as they struggle away from home,the new rules don't suit you,and you play a very predictable game that only bares fruit when your pack dominates..which it wasn't able to do this Tri-nations.Nope,the aussies are our main foe!!

      Ammie - 2010-12-02 06:44

      Lol Kevin- true we not where we were last year but remember the best team of that tournament wins it. My biggest worry is the Ceat Mcaw and the rest of his cheating pals will get away with it. Only 3 teams in it : SA, AUS, NZ. The NH are on cheap drugs as where the hell can yoy for 100 years never beat a team and then claim to take "positives" ot of a 25 point thrashing? I am amazed how they can talk themselves into a frenzy of how unlucky they were ( even if they were thrashed)

      Kevin - 2010-12-02 07:50

      McCaw a cheat? well I guess the IRB don't think so as they awarded him the player of the year for a third time!!..he's just a legend and you know it!!..I agree about the 3 teams in it next year,but I'd replace Sth Africa with england!

      Batonage1000 - 2010-12-02 10:30

      Kevin, please keep posting here so that we can keep contact. I would love to see you eat these words come next year. The All Blacks are the biggest chokers in the history of rugby, and it is EXACTLY this attitude of "we have nothing to fear from this and that team" that has cost you the cup every world cup since 87. So keep talking mate. Keep talking.

      Kevin - 2010-12-02 19:06

      I didn't say we have nothing to fear,I quite clearly stated that I think the Aussies will be our main foe and I say that because of the unpredictable and dangerous style of rugby they are capable of!..just ask the french.I'm not overly confident in the ABs winning,they might,they may not,but I'm confident in the fact that I don't think the Boks will knock us out.

      Batonage1000 - 2010-12-03 09:25

      Like I said... keep talking

      BOKLDN - 2010-12-03 16:15

      Sure buddy. And McCaw in the Green and Gold would be the biggest villain on Earth. The preferential treatment you team gets is fine during the 3 unimportant years but the truth comes out at the championship big guy. That is why you can't win it. One forward pass and food poinsoning (sure) are your reasons for not winning it. McCaw will be dominated next year like he was last year - when he got the award for player of the year because the IRB don't like the Boks - no doubt the top 5 players last year were from Boks and Lions so why was he even there. Cuz precious little NZ need cuddling at the end of a tough year. Take your Good Guy Mealamu and your Captain your Captain, use their contacts to buy tickets for no further than the semis and sleep tight. Remember not to beat your wife when you lose it. I know it will be hard but your people once were warriors. Until they met guns - just another one of the inventions of my people. I Watched your ITM cup in hysterics - you have 2 players in NZ and if McCaw gets the yellows he deserves, then you have 1. Bok 8 - the best on Earth and there are 16 of them. 9 = FDP. 10 = Points machine. 11= Rapid. Centers = smash. 14 = JP "Corey who" P. 15 = 60m pens. Suck it up pal. This year has been a farce, especially SA vs AUS/NZ. Rugby has laws that govern it but change when you play in NZ. Not for World Cups tho pal. You can't get away with it then.

  • AJ - 2010-12-02 06:51

    I think Smit should be taken to the WC, but not in a playing capacity but rather as a mascot/cheerleader (familiar face etc). I cannot see how the captaincy 'skills' he has displayed are so much better than a number of other candidates so much as to sideline Bismarck's possible contributions for example. This Smit issue is a loaded gun pointed at our foot.....of course we'll probably go and pull the trigger....

  • jason.makwala - 2010-12-02 08:36

    rugby people, please also don't forget the awesome record (LATELY) that Victor Matfield captained teams have had against Aus/ NZ.... we know that the chances of the WC staying in the southern hemisphere are very high, my guess 90% + and we very much may have to get past NZ or Aus to keep "our beloved Webb Ellis Cup". I agree with the notion that players must be selected on form. And in-terms of leadership, SA is not lacking that on the player front. Jean is an excellent leader, Schalke i feel is better. Juan hasn't had much success, but is inspirational. Smit is awsome at Bok level, but not had the same impact at club/provincial. I do feel Victor and FDP have contributed greatly to Smits "great" leadership at Bok level. With the brains trust we have at coaching level, i dont feel we can carry any players that are not on form, we need the best team, and best combinations. Right now and for most of 2009/2010 Smit doesn't fit the bill... But bakkies didnt fit in at the start of the season either, now he is the bakkies we expect. Therefor the door should be open for Smit, but if he continues having average/ workman like performances, we should start an outstanding Bizzie.

  • Batonage1000 - 2010-12-02 09:58

    Pieter de Villiers insistence that Smit move to tighthead in 2009 messed up his season back at hooker in 2010. The reality is that the amount of weight John had to put on for tighthead meant that he wasn't as mobile as he should be for hooker. Hopefully he'll drop that weight now in the off season so that he can get mobile again. I still think he has it in him and that he should be picked. Perhaps not at hooker, because we can't do without Bissie. But he'll contribute at loosehead as it is a hell of a lot easier to scrum there than at tighthead.

  • Carl Muller - 2010-12-04 15:15

    Smith is a tired fat old man. Leave him in front of the TV. Just look at how in played in his 100th game.

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