JJ Harmse

Sad day for SA rugby

2009-06-11 15:18
Sport24 columnist JJ Harmse (File)
JJ Harmse

So, was it a bad Sharks performance or something ominous from the British and Irish Lions. Perhaps a combination of both?

Watching the game on Wednesday night, I could not believe how one-sided it was withb the final score certainly flattering the hosts.

I remember some of the remarks made in response to my suggestion last week that the Sharks are on a downward spiral, and after this showing, I'm even more convinced.

Yes, they do have world class players out due to their Bok commitments, but if this is the next level of player, they are in trouble, sorry to say.

Coach John Plumtree said afterwards that he knew they would be competitive for a while, but still felt that the score did not reflect the true story.

Plumtree felt that a full strength Sharks team would have beaten the Lions, hypothetically speaking of course.

Johann Muller gave the Lions credit for their good basics, but did feel that the Boks would have their number.

The tour is certainly gaining momentum and I can’t wait for next week’s first Test. Let’s hope Western Province can give the Lions a decent go.

The WP match represents the ideal opportunity for Ian McGeechan to test his Test combinations, although that would mean two games in four days for the likes of Jamie Roberts and Brian O’Driscoll.

I watched the Emerging Boks training this morning and could not believe my eyes seeing Willem de Waal running among the backs.

I have nothing but admiration for the flyhalf’s contribution to South African rugby, but how on earth did he make this team? He is too old and playing him prevents another youngster from having a crack at the Lions. De Waal is playing against the Lions this weekend anyway and some other youngsters would have benefitted more with their inclusion in the Emerging Boks squad.

The fact that Derick Kuün is not involved either, makes me unhappy.

I know there is a transformation factor to be considered with the Emerging Boks, but to pick Bandise Maku ahead of Kuun smacks of prejudice and political interference. I am not sure either why Tiaan Liebenberg is in that squad.

He's played for the Springboks previously and should not be in the Emerging side.

There is some real talent in that team though and they will certainly give the Lions a decent run. The Emerging pack scrummed against the Boks in Durban in a practice session and held their own against the country's first-choice selection.

Serious car accident

Unfortunately today is also a sad day for South African rugby and I want to share this with you.

I am not sure how many of you know that Vuyo Zangqa was in a serious car accident last week, in which he sustained severe facial injuries.

My understanding is that he will lose his left eye as a result of the accident. It is hard to fathom Vuyo returning to a level where he can play international Sevens again with only one eye.

I recall former Western Transvaal flyhalf Tjaart Marais who coped very well with only one eye, but the game has progresses a lot since those days.

Whatever the final outcome, I will remember Vuyo’s contribution to the “Blitsbokke” for a long, long time.

He was one of the quiet guys in the side, but his wicked side-step, acceleration and soft hands made him one of the best on the circuit. He also provided coach Paul Treu with a perfect foil to Renfred Dazel.

If we don’t see Vuyo on the rugby field again, it will be very sad, but his health and recovery should be paramount. Thanks for the memories anyway Vuyo. It was an honour to watch you play and represent your country with so much dignity and talent on continents all over the world.

Zangqa was due to play for the Southern Kings as well, one of a couple of Sevens players that will be in action on Tuesday. This is great for them and a good reward.

It would certainly be interesting to see how the likes of Mpho Mbiyozo and Mzwandile Stick go in the XVs format after a year away from that code.

I would love to see Frankie Horne feature somewhere in Currie Cup as well. He had an outstanding season on the circuit.

It will also be interesting to see some former Sevens players in the Lions squad as well.

James Hook played for Wales in the George tournament a couple of years back and England flyer Ugo Monye was part of his country’s team that won the Hong Kong Sevens a couple of years back. Tom Croft was another to represent his country at Sevens level.

Read JJ every Sunday in Rapport.

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