SA rugby in the dark ages?

2012-10-03 12:48
Oregan Hoskins (Gallo Images)
SA Rugby when will we move from the dark ages?!

Ahh the inaugural Rugby Championships all but dne and dusted. If it were any other game people would be dubbing it as a dead rubber weekend. But its far from it, on the other side of the globe we have Robbie Deans having to fight to show is detractors that he is the man for the Aussie job against the Argies who have accounted for themselves well in this tournament but they smell the blood of a maimed wallaby and they want this bad for their own confidence...then on this side of the globe we have the ABs who have the Rugby Championship in the bag along with every trophy on offer this year so far and 15 straight test wins chasing a record of 18 (held by Lithuania mind you) and looking to build on the momentum of the last test vs The AfriBokke (more on that later) who strung together a very good performance v the Wallabies last weekend and would love nothing more than to put one over their old foe, who happen to also currently hold the title of world champs.

I am most pleased that Argentina has been included, i would love to see a competition that involved the South Sea Islanders as well as the USA and Japan too because the more participants we have the bigger the global spectacle. Its not like in football where a country like Ghana could make the semi finals...could have but we forget about that. But that being said, it wasnt an exciting tournament at all. The Wallabies through no fault of Robbie Deans or the players were a weak unit and they did pretty well given the circumstances. They were on their 4th captain, who had to delay his retirement to assist the team, but they were always going to struggle and with mr consistent Adam Ashley-Cooper going down early in the game v the boks along with Digby, Samo, was written! The Boks played well but they should have been more clinical and put them away. The Blacks meant business from the Haka it too was written, they had a bit of a slow start but then from there, everything was done at pace, fewer errors. I think the Argies were also tired they didnt have their usual fizz, this weekend they will be stronger.

But enough of that, i have bigger issues much bigger!!

Ok so we had PdV last year, he did pretty well in relation to the results gained by SA coaches of old (discounting Nick Mallet) but he could do no right in the eyes of the SA rugby public. He brought in Flouw if i am not mistaken, people ask what the herrrl. He tried to change Jakes defend and kick rugby people as what the herlll!!! Yes he 'inherited' a team but as did Heynecke now, he has lost John Smit(added nothing to PdV's tenure bar leadership) Victor Matfield, Bakkies (hardly played because of injury and suspension), Fourie dP(hardly played too), Jacques Fourie and Schalk (currently injured). Cant think of anyone else worth noting but no HM didnt inherit a team, noooo. You see where I am going with this...i dont think you do.

South African rugby bosses have once again missed a trick i believe. I like HM as a coach for the Bulls, the man is without doubt a good coach we all saw what he achieved with the Bulls, took him some time to achieve it. He is now in charge of the Boks and I HATE his style of rugby but in spite of that I have urged my mates who speak ill of him to give him a chance...well in the past, but there is a trend that i recently noticed which doesn't sit right with me at all. As you all know as a result of a vast amount of reasons I have never been a strong supporter of Springbok rugby, to a point where i actually supported ANY team against them. In 1995, even though i didnt support them I was so happy they won the RWC in SA, and when PdV took over i found myself supporting them more except against a few nations. But i recently noticed that my dislike is returning and I started analysing it.

Look at this team selected for last weekend's game v Australia:

15. Zane Kirchner
14. Bryan Habana
13. Jaco Taute
12. Jean de Villiers (captain)
11. Franscois Hougaard
10. Johan Goosen
9. Ruan Pienaar
8. Duane Vermeulen
7. Willem Alberts
6. Francois Louw
5. Andries Bekker
4. Eben Etzebeth
3. Jannie du Plessis
2. Adriaan Strauss
1. Tendai Mtawarira

What do you notice about it? Yep bar Habs (former Bull) and The Beast, this team is Afrikaans and staggeringly white. Players like Lambie should be there, a player like Keegan Daniel, by far SA's best loose forward in this years super rugby dropped for no reason!! Lwazi Mvovo, dropped to make space for Hougie who couldnt cut it at no 9. I like Goosen, I think he is definitely the future, but after a few games he is included in the big league when there is a guy called Elton Jantjes who has been 'having it' for the Lions over the last 2 seasons. You bring in 2 players like JJ Engelbrecht and Jaco Taute ahead of Juan de Jongh and Lionel Mapoe, who has outshone every other centre in this years currie cup, well bar the duo of Eberhson and Rhule when they played together for the Cheetahs. Then there is Chilliboy, always no 2, now he is no 3 or 4, you telling me Liebenberg or Strauss is better than him? Give me your basis! but Chilli has gone as far as he will in SA rugby, from Springbok captain potential to chump. Then the cherry on top for me was you telling me that Kolisi isnt good enough and his time will come, but Potgieter is good enough!! Screw this pooh man!! I've had it! its time someone said something! People cry foul over quotas but without them the status quo will remain.

If we really wanted to transform and grow, now is a good a time as any because HM already has the excuse that he is building a team so why not bring in a proper talent like Rhule, this boy is hot! Mapoe, superb, Chilliboy, De Jongh, Gio Aplon. There is this guy called Daniel Odongo who has played for SA in age group rugby. Bra has got such mad skills that Tana Umaga has signed him for Counties in NZ, and our guys did they even see him?

The thing that tipped me over the edge was this weekend, when SA were plenty points ahead of Oz and there was no hope of them losing, you have Elton and Juan warming up on the sidelines for 3 hrs whilst Pat Cilliers waltzed on in no time, come on man...come on!!

Maybe HM isnt consciously congnisant of what he is doing with this team! Yes you ten to familiarise yourself with people who you are comfortable with, but this team belongs to the nation and to be honest this goes beyond rugby for me. For many in South Africa rugby is a bastion of the old regime and like it or not with PdV a few more people like myself were slowly starting to warm to the team, even though the most vocal of disapproval belonged to quarters of the old guard. What is happening now will not bode well for SA rugby amongst all, it will suit a large pocket of the old guard who i guess hold the country's purse strings. But i find it horribly sad, disgusting even. Something has to be said...done!

I know i am whining and I know I'm bringing race and politics etc into sport, but i guess as they say bad things happen when people stand by and do nothing!

I want to support but I cant, I AM VERY DESPONDENT, DISSAPOINTED and darn right BLEAK

Come on SA Rugby (supporters and administrators alike) lets move from the dark ages please!! Imagine how good players like Lawerence Sephaka, Gcobani Bobo, Hanyani would have been had they been given as much leeway and support and opportunities like those afforded to players like Smit, Spies, Morne, Jannie Du Penalty to name but a few!!

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