Stransky truly sidesteps bias

2012-10-19 10:26

Whatever you think of his broader merits as a commentator, the one key thing I believe Joel Stransky routinely gets spot-on is to detach himself firmly from any obvious partisanship.

I’ve been reminded of that again in the past few weeks, where his contribution behind the SuperSport rugby mike - usually as the comments- and perspectives-geared “No 2” to a lead commentator - has shone brightly in that regard.

It’s a global phenomenon in broadcasting, I’d suggest, for fairly recent players who’ve switched to TV analysis of the game, to still have a subconscious (and sometimes even less subtle than that) foot in the team camp they’ve just departed from.

That is partially understandable, given the familiarity factor and the ability to pinpoint tactical issues through still largely first-hand knowledge.
It’s one reason for being able to forgive Victor Matfield, perhaps, for his Bulls-leaning tendencies in examination of their games - though we shouldn’t do so forever!

But given his suitably well-travelled status and the fact that he is now 45 and well out of the first-class loop, former Bok flyhalf Stransky - Natal, WP, plus Italian and English clubs - pleasingly shows no obvious leanings and calls situations firmly and sans favour, right across the board.

If he feels one team has had the benefit of a really dubious refereeing call their way, for example, you can bet that later in the game he will be just as caustic if a verdict of that nature goes the other direction.

One recommendation I have for SuperSport, by the way, is that they split their pretty routine two-person English commentary “teams” a little more often: for the Currie Cup semi-finals on Saturday we again have the Matt Pearce-Bob Skinstad alliance for Sharks v Bulls, and then Hugh Bladen and Joel Stransky for the game between the Lions and Western Province.

I know it is probably logistically convenient for SuperSport to stick to the status quo, but every now and then, Pearce-Stransky and Bladen-Skinstad would be a welcome switch in pairings, wouldn’t it?

Rob’s Awesome Foursome

1. Australia v New Zealand, Bledisloe Cup rugby
Brisbane, Saturday 12:00, SS1 & SHD

I have to admit that this nearly didn’t make the prime-attractions cut, given that the clash so strongly seems a “hangover” game – especially with the Bledisloe Cup already assured of staying safely in New Zealand hands regardless of the outcome in this closing fixture in Queensland. Countering that is that matches between the Springboks’ two most traditional southern hemisphere rivals are usually good-value entertainment nevertheless. We also have to grudgingly concede – don’t we? – that the All Blacks are thoroughly worthy masters of the oval-ball universe at present and still more comfortable than most at throwing the pill around crisply and joyously. Despite some hopeful hype in Wallaby-land, I fancy the hosts could be facing a meaningful “klap” here. 

2. Highveld Lions v Yorkshire, Champions League T20 cricket
Johannesburg, Saturday 13:30, SS2 & SH2

The spirited Lions are back on home turf at the Bullring in a lunchtime fixture which could seal their semi-final status. Simultaneously, that outcome would condemn the English county side to also-rans in a tournament which is catching fire quite nicely and occasionally luring more spectators to venues than I’d initially (perhaps too cynically, also) anticipated. Despite losing their unbeaten record to the accomplished Sydney Sixers at Newlands on Thursday, there’s enough experience and youthful talent in the Lions’ ranks to confirm their last-four berth pretty comfortably if their collective nerve holds. The game is part of a double-header, later featuring IPL rivals Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians.

3. Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea, English Premiership soccer
London, Saturday 13:45, SS3 & Maximo

The earliest game of the latest round of Premiership matches is also the most appealing of the lot, certainly on paper. It’s a cracking London derby between distinguished old foes, and both in fine current form in the league. Spurs, the hosts, lie a solid enough fifth on the table and will at least not want to lose to a Chelsea side who have already opened up a four-point lead on the pack. So with plenty of other sides willing them on to thwart Blues, perhaps Tottenham scrapping out a credible point isn’t the craziest scenario in the world? Personally, however, I have a hunch the visitors will nick all three points once again.  

4. Currie Cup semi-finals rugby
Sharks v Bulls, Saturday 16:30, Lions v WP, 19:00, both M-Net, SS1 & SHD

So here we are yet again ... after spending much of the round-robin phase lamenting how much the grand old Currie Cup dame has lost her lustre, Springboks-infused semis time changes all that and provincial passions are running just about as high as ever. Both matches have tantalising whiffs of uncertainty, even if smart money probably leans toward an all-coastal showpiece – it would be at Mr Price Kings Park, of course - a week on. Both teams for the early game have raised some eyebrows by keeping certain Boks bench-bound initially; maybe the game will be tilted by the infusion of heavyweight super-subs like Beast Mtawarira, Willem Alberts, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Francois Hougaard and Dean Greyling?


  • jacques.duplessis.3785 - 2012-10-19 10:36

    This ok is so bias towards wp and natal!if he sees anything that looks like a lion or a bull he ALWAYS has something to say!!and its never good!don't have time for his commentary I'd rather listen to nothing than listen to him

      bakkies.botha.39 - 2012-10-19 10:39

      Agreed ou Perd!!! Rob=WP Joel=WP and Natal!!!

      macziekpk - 2012-10-19 15:38

      Rob Houwing your credibility is once and for all truly shot. Is this a a sarcastic article?

  • bakkies.botha.39 - 2012-10-19 10:39

    Rob en nog n gatgabba pél!!!! WP24 nog n stukkie fantastiese werk!!!

      bakkies.botha.39 - 2012-10-19 11:00

      Wys jou nou net hoe vér News 24 van die appelkar af geblxm het!!! Dankie Rob, hoop jy kry n goeie job in Japan!!!

  • jaco.labuschagne.90 - 2012-10-19 10:41

    All this time I though that Stransky was a bigger jackass than Houwing. How wrong was I.

      charlesdumbwin.dumbwin - 2012-10-19 10:51

      LOL! Agreed! Hate all of Stransky's little biased comments from start to finish. He's painful to listen to.

      bakkies.botha.39 - 2012-10-19 10:56

      Dankie tog ons kan in Afrikaans luister as daai toetol op is!!! Net nog n suurgat CHOKER!!!

  • charlesdumbwin.dumbwin - 2012-10-19 10:47

    Rob, you're talking cr@p! How much did pro-Province Stransky pay you to pen this nonsense? Next time, please sit quietly on your couch and listen carefully, very carefully, to how Stransky comments when his former teams are playing any opposition. He has nothing nice to say about other teams, especially the Bulls, with constant little remarks and jibes throughout the 80 minutes. You're smoking something, Rob. Seriously. Stransky is biased and horrible to listen to!!!

  • blou.johnny - 2012-10-19 10:48

    ...news24 = WPStormers24... ....openly biased...

  • Groenkoors - 2012-10-19 10:53

    I strongly disagree Rob!! When he takes the mic for a Bulls match he's sometimes blatantly critical of the way they play while praising the opposition gameplan. I sometimes find myself cursing at some of his snide comments during a match. I'm not saying he's not a good commentator or analyst, he just tends to show some prejudice towards the Bulls (not surprising for an ex Province player). In my mind Blades and Pearce have never publicly shown any bias towards a specific team.

      charlesdumbwin.dumbwin - 2012-10-19 10:54

      It's so obvious. We can all hear it. Except Rob.

  • BlouMasjien1 - 2012-10-19 10:54

    What a Joke !Starnsky is even more biased than the Australian commentators

  • brett.petzer.3 - 2012-10-19 10:55

    you frikken smoking your socks mate, ol helium squeeky boy is so Sharks , Province biased if you cant hear him then u obviously not listening!!!!

      charlesdumbwin.dumbwin - 2012-10-19 10:57

      It must be a Province thing, the boys have got each other's backs...

      julius.malememba.7 - 2012-10-19 19:45

      ... maybe even each other's backsides ... typical Gaytown!!

  • janadriaan.korff.9 - 2012-10-19 10:59

    When did Sport24 Columns turn into a trolling site. Stransky is so negative towards the Bulls when he is commenting, that I listen to Afrikaans when he calls a game. It really is shocking that you wrote this purely to get a reaction from people and not to advertise the two great semi's this weekend. Swak styl Rob.

      BlouMasjien1 - 2012-10-19 11:06

      That's province 24 for you

  • miller.duncans - 2012-10-19 11:04

    I disagree Joel always leans to the bulls & you can hear it.

      bakkies.botha.39 - 2012-10-19 11:11


  • philip.ehlers.7 - 2012-10-19 11:12

    Rob what commentary are you listening to? are there 2 Joel Stransky's. Rob, please get your facts strait or maybe start listening to what he actually says when he commentates. As another stated earlier he just fell short last week in prying for the Bulls to loose.

      charlesdumbwin.dumbwin - 2012-10-19 11:15

      lol, Rob is probably sleeping during the games and his hero, Stransky's voice, still echoes in his head. This article lost all credibility when Rob proclaimed that Joel Stransky is not biased in is commentary. BAWAHAHAHA, what a joke!

  • lionel.schultz.1 - 2012-10-19 11:17

    Bob Skinstad is the most bias commentator when it comes to the Boks playing the All Blacks and followed by his mate Mathew Pearce. Skinstad has a blatant hatred for Ritchie McCaw with his sneering remarks. Pearce's knowkledge of the game is extremely limited and a terrible anchor on Boots & All. Supersport should concentrate less on fancy studio's and rather on the content of the program and presenters i.e Pearde, Willemse and Botha and learn from the rugby program Reunion from NZ. At least when Mallet and Mitchell are in the studio, they rescue the program with great rugby insight and not at all bias and give credit where credit is due to all teams and likewise with critism.

      gary.cannabinoid - 2012-10-19 11:46

      Couldn't agree anymore! Mr obvious Skinstad is extremely useless and i don't know how he still has a job. All you hear is 'er... er... er... his running with the ball' as if i can't see that. I don't even speak Afrikaans but it sure is a hell of alot better than the english commentators. Our commentators also lack giving tactical gameplans and are very scared to criticize referees poor decisions. Should be teaching kids the right things according to the RULES and correct tactics. If we had better coverage during the games i'm sure our rugby will be alot stronger than it is now

      sportmal.legrangemarais - 2012-10-19 13:46

      @Lionel Spot on Bevan! Boots & All was a great rugby show a decade ago, but these days they focus too much on silly little add-ins. The social networking update every show from lady-rugga is the most irritating thing on television I've ever seen. I love watching Reunion, the boys talk rugby for an hour and couldn't be less bothered by all the sideshows, even the studio looks like something out of the 90's, but yet it's enjoyable to watch because you ultimately watch the show for the rugby. Even the build up to the games is poorly presented, Naas and Ashwin are clearly very uncomfortable in front of that big touch screen (to be honest Naas actually looks afraid of it). Pearce is very biased towards Province, Bad Boy Brosnihan makes me switch off the tele completely, Andy Cap should commentate cricket or bowls for that matter (zzzzz) and can Blades please sober up before a game (he barely gets the players' names right. Time for a shake up Supersport!!

  • byron.wright.102 - 2012-10-19 11:20

    He may nott be biased but he is an awful commentator! Sounds like he gargled Lava

  • jimmy.moustache.12 - 2012-10-19 11:21

    ek gaan nie eers lees wat hierdie vet ginger vir ons skryf nie, maar ek stem sommer in elk geval nie saam met hom nie. boom

  • Ho3n3r - 2012-10-19 11:25

    Dunno what Rob is smoking. His obious bias FOR the Sharks and WP and obvious bias toward anyone opposing the Blue Bulls is one of the main reasons I swithc to Afrikaans commentary most of the time.

  • leonard.bulle - 2012-10-19 11:29

    Hoekom dan die verslag skryf? Hy ly in elkgeval ook aan kleinmannetjiesindroom. Een skepskop en nou weet hy alles van rugby af. Luister eerder afrikaans Kobus erken tenminste hy is 'n Leeu.

  • stompies.hattingh.5 - 2012-10-19 11:39

    Cannot BELEIVE what I'm reading here! Stransky is the MOST biased commentator of all. (oops, I have forgotten about Skinstad, Breyten, Toks, Pearce, Wiese, etc. all who are in love with the stormers/wp) And you mister Rob Howing, is the last one to be in a position to be objective about the subject (oops, I have forgotten about Louis de Villiers, that Joubert oukie, Tank - actually most of the sport24 so called reporters/commentators who are also deperately in love with the stormers/wp!)

  • stompies.hattingh.5 - 2012-10-19 11:48

    Correction, Wiese is not in love with the stormers, that I must give him credit for. But he hates the bulls - maybe only because his own team fails to perform at the same level. (Wonder how he explains this to his bulls supporting son) And then, he is also the biggest Morne basher! Skaam jou Kobus!

  • coenraadt - 2012-10-19 11:57

    Rob you Chop - Did you watch the Lions v Bulls game this weekend and if so, did you actually listen to the JS commentary, i dont think you did!! I would rather listen to aussie commentators than ever again listen to JS

  • martin.gee.godfrey - 2012-10-19 12:10

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha Hahahahahahahahahahaha Hahahahahahahahahaha Hahahahahahaha - Joke of the week!! Stransky not biased Bwahahahahahahahahaha...

  • jimmy.moustache.12 - 2012-10-19 12:27

    en dit klink of stransky n padda in die keel het

      leonard.bulle - 2012-10-19 15:33

      Hy praat eintlik duer sy g@...hulle sit naby mekaar. Of dalk is die padda in sy g.....

  • stephen.axtell.7 - 2012-10-19 13:10

    I still think Hugh Blayden is biased when the Vlou Nulle play. He bearly mentions anything when an opposing team scores against the Nulle. Plus when they lose you could almost hear him cry in the background

      bakkies.botha.39 - 2012-10-19 14:42

      Ja the old Transvaal player will be biased toward the Bulls, thats a good load of bollox!!!

  • laure.leroux.7 - 2012-10-19 15:27

    This must be the worst piece Houwing ever wrote. It is not even possible to listen to Stransky, so how do you come to that conclusion?

  • dawie.l.wilson - 2012-10-19 16:16

    Spot on!!! Its so obvious (that he is bias) with his negative comments towards the Bulls - but I suppose I also would have hated them if they gave my team a hiding week after week! I suppose Howing was in the same boat as he can not see - or hear that for that matter?! Shame.

  • koos.tonteldoos.1 - 2012-10-19 21:55

    And it don't stop there, Joel's biased "commentating" is also always against the Boks, maybe there's to many Bulls in there, but if the boks score a lucky try, Joel would be the first to say they were lucky. If it was an Aussie commentator then they would scream "Awesome try!!!!". Not Joel, he's a freakon id10t when it comes to commentating, and the worst is I don't have a choice to listen to someone else where I watch my games. Usually the best commentating come form the guys on the field. 5 seconds every 10 minutes. PLEASE GET RID OF JOEL! and Rob for talking only rubbish.

      kwill16 - 2012-10-20 10:17

      agreed Joel is the worst

      dave.e.richman - 2012-10-20 11:23

      Koos..... You DO have a choice! Language option 4 of 4 = No commentary at all..... Give it a try ;)

  • WernerZA - 2012-10-20 00:47

    Stransky is the anti-bull. I have never heard a game where he commentated where he had anything good to say about them... Unless they hammer the opposition like last week... Then not giving some credit is just silly. But as a bulls supporter I like listening to him almost as much as listening to Phil Kearns when the Boks are playing the Aussies... Nice to hear them eating their words after 80 mins!

  • dave.e.richman - 2012-10-20 11:14

    Well that sure was a surprise....... Lol Anyway folks...... Ever since I discovered 'Language option 4 of 4' on DSTV, I have never looked back. No commentary at all..... No Hugh Blayden babbling away while you are trying to hear what the referee is saying..... No Bob Skinstad blubbing and saying ".... well the pass may have been slightly forward, but no point in bringing that up" - you just did!!!! And best of all.... No Joel Stransky!!! You just get to hear the crowd sounds and the referee..... Language option 4 of 4, people...... There is no better way to watch sport!!!!!

      michael.gibson.3720190 - 2012-10-20 13:24

      Thanks for the tip Dave. I'll definately give that a try

  • joseph.brendon - 2012-10-22 14:49

    Justin Marshall of New Zealand is incredibly good. Been impressed with his commentary skills and how objective and neutral he is in all games. Never tends to favour the Crusaders nor All Blacks - hope he sticks around.

  • dcnpv - 2012-10-23 09:48

    Re Stransky: Agree. Something that the Aussie and Kiwi commentators truly can learn from.

  • lionel.kritzinger - 2012-10-23 10:32

    I have to agree. Most of the current commentators are bias towards a certain team. From Gavin Cowley ( WP - I so loath his commentating) to Andy Capostanio and Mathew Pearce (Sharks) Hugh Bladen (Lions) Breyton Paulse (actually all the Afrikaans commenators WP). Warren Brosnihan and John van Rensburg are the least bias of all. Mathew Pearce and Joel Stransky commentate as if they have first hand information to what actually the player is thinking at that very moment. Thanks God for a mute button on my remote.

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