Bok's fate decided in a minute

2010-07-25 22:31

JJ Harmse

Brisbane – The nature of South Africa’s Tri-Nations tour was determined inside a minute of the first Test against New Zealand in Auckland.

A clear obstruction on a Springbok went unpunished and the reaction by Bakkies Botha, when he headbutted Jimmy Cowan, ensured that the team would be “punished” for the rest of the 240 minutes on tour.

They would ultimately get four yellow cards – and with Jaque Fourie suspended for four weeks for a spear tackle on Sunday, there were three Bok suspensions in three weeks. It’s a shocking record for any team, particularly for a Bok side that ran on in Wellington with 700 Tests under the belt.

It can be asked how different things might have been had Stuart Dickinson and Alan Lewis punished Cowan’s illegal play, but the reality is that the Boks are again viewed as the bullies of world rugby.

The fact that they looked almost helpless against the All Blacks and Wallabies’ counter-attacks was the bitter pill that needed to be swallowed, with far too many tackles missed.

It is often said that tackling is about attitude – and in the case of the Boks that is a slap in the face.

“We were poor in that department,” captain John Smit admitted to Sport24.

“We were actually poor in a few areas of the game, but on defence we were really disappointing.”

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers will have to contemplate in the next week or two whether it requires a psychologist to bring about the change of attitude or simply a defence coach worth his salt.

He will also have the luxury of being able to call on players such as Juan Smith, JP Pietersen and Jongi Nokwe, but he and his management will also have to talk seriously about the Boks’ approach in the rest of the tournament.

Some senior players are not up to standard and they will have to be sharpened.

There is still an outside mathematical chance for the Boks to keep their title, but then the team will have to play a lot better at Soccer City, Loftus Versfeld and Vodacom Park.

The fact that the team came off second best on three consecutive matches with Irish match officials cannot just be blamed on the referees. The All Blacks and Wallabies had decent coaching and planned thoroughly.

Although there seems to be little doubt that the ref’s sympathy currently lies with the Boks’ opponents, discipline starts with individuals.

The tour can be summed up as follows:

Turning point:
Bakkies Botha’s headbutt.
Setbacks: Injuries to Jannie du Plessis and Andries Bekker.
Low point: Every yellow card, Irish referees.
Highlight: None.
Player of the tournament: Danie Rossouw. Hardworking and fiery.


  • taxpayer - 2010-07-25 22:53

    JJ your first paragraph says it all. We all know that Stuart Dickinsons observation ability is poor and biased. The Irish only need to relook at the tapes to realize " what is good for the goose ,is not good for the gander"

  • SA Fans are crybabies - 2010-07-25 23:19

    Wow more excuses, absolutley nothing wrong with the referee. Let me provide some examples of how the Springcoks are not hard done by: 1) Springboks awarded more penalties than the AB's over the 2 games.... wow that is so unfair towards the Springcoks. 2) Rene Rangers tackle - as much as you don't like to admit this, if you watch the replay he did use both arms, its there on the replay for you to see. (Sth Africa got a penalty and scored from this) 3) Kirchners head high tackle - went un-noticed (good fortune if you ask me) 4) Rossouws attempted eye gouge. Fortunate for Richrad McCaw he didn't really get him real bad in the eyes. The attempt was there, sure it was a soft attempt, but no place for it in the game, and fairly punished. 4) Schalk eye gouging against Aussie- again not noticed and unpunished. 5) Richard McCaw not being binned - he got 2 personal warnings. one in each half. Every game I have seen the ref has always given a player another chance in the new half. The other warning was for the team not a personal warning for Richie. 6) Butch James hand around the throat of Cory Jane after the whistle - very lucky no penalty was awarded to the AB's. 7) The springcoks coach not being done for bringing the game into disrepute. How can he get away with the whole conspiracy crap, calling other teams cheats and refs cheats? He needs to learn to be more diplomatic. See there ya go, I guess the world isn't against the Springcoks afterall. You fans need to take a good hard look at yourself. It is a game after all, its just that its a game that you have been consistently dominated at. So dry your eyes and grow up!

  • Mr D - 2010-07-25 23:29

    Piet is good and we dont want to see him go but a lost of 3 test's is just not on so it will be sad to see Piet goes but its time..cheers Piet

  • Superbul - 2010-07-25 23:44

    Coach Peter is OK, not the best ever but look at the success of last year. The one thing that he must do is get 2 better assistants. Dick Muir single handedly destroyed the Lions, and now all creative play by the Boks. Just look how the Bulls and Stormers backs performed under Pieter Rousouw. The forwards of the Stormers under Proudfoot was much better the moment Gary Gould was replaced in WP. Somehow all the players can not perform under the current assistant coaches.

  • Wake up JJ Harmse - 2010-07-25 23:55

    Aaagghhh....go fly a kite JJ....Danie Rossouw sucks!!!. Best player my @#$%!!. His first name should change to Bostic as he NEVER pass the ball and his nickname should be ''I-always-lose-the-ball-forward". Wake up JJ!!.

  • rusty - 2010-07-25 23:59

    there yall go again, keep those blinders on.

  • Andre - 2010-07-26 00:08

    Were the refs just plain useless...or cheaters.? How can everyone that saw the game, and know the rules, not see how terrible the refs were? Boks do everything wrong....opposition did everything right! Pocock, broke the rules at every did All Black captain Richie M. And what happened to Ranger ( after his dangerous shoulder charge on Zane Kirshner ) ?

  • Mike B - 2010-07-26 00:10

    JJ your comment "but the reality is that the Boks are again viewed as the bullies of world rugby" should tell you something. We are seen as the thugs and dirty players in the world and the bloody morons playing and managing the game continue to give justis to these statements. Wht are we not fining dirty players. Why do we defend them? It just costs us tests and the true supporters are getting a bit tired of the "blame the ref" and "its a conspiracy" comments being thrown arround. It is time to clean up our game and work on rectifying the problems.

  • JJ Black - 2010-07-26 00:17

    Listen girls and boys, regardless of ref's, assistant ref's, 4th official, video ref, video replay, the rain, the snow, erupting volcano's , earthquake's, home support, bad NZ food;), pdv and the rest of the coaching staff, home or away the mighty Bokke's will loose. 1ST game same tactic's, 2nd game same tactic's, 3rd game against the Wobbiles, same tactics. Where is the Bokke side I love and respect? Yes I am a Kiwi and most of my mate's are South African. We want a contest, a thinking man's game of rugby. You guy's have so many outstanding players, depth, coaching staff and in bred rugby culture. You need to ask yourselves wtf is going on?I want to see some lekker rugby my Bokke mate's. I want a contest, that at the moment the Bokke's are not delivering. Take care

  • Dewald - 2010-07-26 00:23

    seriously, you cant still be blaming everything on Bakkies....come now. Lets all just agree and blame the couch, I hope they brink Jake back next year, I hope they accept his application to become the couch again.

  • Bok in Oz - 2010-07-26 01:05

    Even if the match officials were all South African the outcome of the matches would have been the same. SA sucked big time and a ref cannot make you miss a tackle, a ref cannot tell all the forwards to stand in the backline instead of cleaning out the ruck to get good ball back. A ref cannot tell Habana he is on the field for 80 mins not only the few seconds to run after a kick off. To be beaten by this Australian side with possibly the smallest backline ever is a disgrace. There is no discipline in the side and in three matches there was no distinguishable game plan. THEY SUCKED!!!

  • Maz - 2010-07-26 01:20

    Nothing has changed over the years as the All Blacks are un-touchable by the weak and pathetic officials RU has today. They are professionals in the way they intimidate the officials big-time. Ref and officials today expect players in the heat of the momment to act calm and rationsl! Wonder if they could pass that test? They just spoil the game with their granny pedantic antics to be star of the show!

  • Isak - 2010-07-26 02:16

    JJ - sour grapes man!! We were beaten fair & square. Our players are old & tired, fix this first!

  • Wayne - 2010-07-26 02:35

    This article is complete nonsense. You imply that because the obstruction was missed, Bakkies headbutt was justifiable....I don't think so. And in the game in Brisbane, Jaques Fourie was rightfully yellow carded (and so was an Wallabies player for the offence, in the second half). The boks (and the RSA press) need to stop whining about refs and get back to playing decent rugby. You say Danie Rossouw was the player of the tournament.... He was lucky not to get yellow carded too...especially after that aerial challenge where he clearly was looking away from the ball. C'mon BOKS, you are better than this

  • Sam - 2010-07-26 03:10

    The ref didn't have time to penalize Cowan before Botha took matters into his own hands/forehead. Perhaps if SA stuck to playing rugby and not foul play and complaining they might do a bit better. Firing De Village Idiot as well might help.

  • Theo - 2010-07-26 03:42

    I recorded all the games and watched them after the fact (the hassle of living in the USA). Each time I hoped I would not see the score before I saw the games, but each time I unfortunately knew we had lost before I started watching. That provided me with the flat emotion of looking for where the game goes wrong, as I am watching it. JJ, you got it right. We sure can blame the referees for partial decisions, but we must also look introspectively at the missed opportunities, the poor decision making and the absolutely shocking difference between ourselves and our opponents in the rucks. The few times we did get things going we looked fantastic, so I like to believe that with a few changes we should be able to right this ship. All is not lost. It will depend on how good a coach Peter can be now that we are facing a big task, and how good the players can execute. All in all, I'm still proud to be a Bok supporter and I can't wait to see how we improve in the next few games at home. If we lose 0-3 on the home stretch I am afraid we better switch up a few key players and get a new coach, I'm voting for Jake.

  • Franky Rancher - 2010-07-26 04:13

    You saffa's are starting to turn English! As soon as the results don't go your way you start blaming the ref. NZ and the Aussies outplayed you guys in every facet of the game. You didn't even get within 7 in any of the 3 games. You need to worry about how your playing the game and not about the ref.....

  • Hannes from Perth - 2010-07-26 04:46

    @JJ, the Boks tour lost in the second minute of the tour. Our coach had the opportunity to replace Bakkies with Danie (with Andries on the bench) immediately after this incident and avoided the "Bad Bullies" fall out. This "strategic" replacement would not only have won the Boks friends in the World Cup hosting nation but would have won de Villiers the respect as coach he so badly crave for. I expect that this incident and bad loser mentality will still be a talking point when the Boks play their first game in Wellington next year. We need a coach that can think and act strategically or the Boks have no hope to defend the World Cup. If PdV cannot, he needs advisors that can. Eddie Jones where are you? The Boks will win the three Tri nation home tests as all are played at altitude where their superior kicking game and line-outs will give them a huge advantage. Unfotunately it will crate a false sense of security as we need a different game plan to win at the coast.

  • ashley - 2010-07-26 05:43

    So it sounds like you condone the thuggery of Bakkies Botha? And seemingly blame the Bok demise, from anything but an outdated game plan. How about what your skipper inferred, by looking in the mirror.

  • John - 2010-07-26 06:02

    Since Paddy O'Dryan (don't feel guilty if I have spelt his name incorrectly) became in charge of the ref's before last world cup the standard ofrefering has dropped drastically except that of SA refs. Why??? Because this individual introduced the current double standard refering and could not do so with SA refs without letting thecat out the bag. It is hard enouph to ref properly and fairly and when you have to start having to apply double standards you tend to only focus one the team you have been instructe to nail and miss the others infringements. We clearly saw the double standard being applied to the citings aswell. Take Brian Lima's attempted 'take you out tackle' which he clearly forecasted on camera showing his intensions. This was clearly a red card offence but prodictably nothing happened until a few days later when it was decided he had to be cited. Had a SA player done that there would have been no hesitation to pull out the red card. The other disgusting incident which went unpunished was when that tongan framed young France Steyn for biting. Video replayes clearly showed this to be untrue. Surely a charge of fowl-dishonest play should have been brought against him. It certainly would have been had a SA player done that. But then again I suppose it is difficult to punish someone for doing what you asked him to do. So we can go on. Wat can be done about this? For starters the media needs to sharpen their act and highlight the incidents and condem it openly. This is te only way the AB's can win the next world cup and they know it, and start demanding the dismissal of Paddy O Bryan. It is sad to thonk human beings could stoop to such low levels for fame and glory. It is sad to thin

  • Rugby 101 - 2010-07-26 06:12

    yes theremis a few incidents that can be questioned and also a few cards given and not given............we should not moan at the cards..we created the reputation of the most physical team so now we have to face the music of the "other side" of that reputation.This been said........................the bottomline is even if the ref was bios towards us and we didnt recieve the card we still would have walked away the losing team.Besides poor first time tackling......It seems that the boks dont have a game plan when the get the ball, and the kicking game we so use to play against these teams are old news and creates the perfect counter attack for our opponents and then the boks are on the backfeet since our defence lines are poor...which takes the game to our quarter and imediatly we are under pressure not to give away a penalty or to get to aggresive on the ground..................this is how sa rugby feels like to me at this stage, the scenario isnt always the same but the frustration is the same.....................Is it just me or would you agree that its like the boks have lost character and spirit.It felt lik we lost that game right afer Fourie recieved his card

  • Jakes - 2010-07-26 06:19

    I am sure that the AB's did a study of the referee beforehand. We were blown out of the game, and they came out flying colours. It is a case of they did their homework, we did not. They knew what to avoid, we just barged in. Why on earth do we still do spear tackles, head butts, lying on the ball, etc? That tells me the coaching team is not in control of the players, and the dicciplne is poor. Enough said, let us believe they will perform better in future, maybe "apaarthaait" is to blame?

  • Gustav - 2010-07-26 06:20

    Bafana at least drew one of the three matches they played in the World Cup. The bokkies LOST three in a row...Rugby , or soccer?????

  • Richard - 2010-07-26 06:22

    I expected this backlash/onslaught from the Sth African supporters but I also thought that they may be a little less one eyed Each of the yellow cards issued in the first few minutes of the 3 tests so far were warranted with the exception of BJ Bothas card later in Saturdays match He was unlucky If the SA fans were real rugby followers and supporters of THE GAME they would have to agree that their players are to blame for the cards and the coach and team for the way the Boks have played for the last 3 weeks Bring in some new blood and give the dead wood the boot because they cant and wont change the way they play NZ and Aust have given a few new guys a start this season and the Boks need to do the same PDV must go No player in their right mind will run through walls and die for their country if this nit wit is their coach He is a knob and a nut case.You cannot show loyalty and support for a person like this as he puts so much more pressure on the team by his stupid quotes and rants in the media He has to go for the sake of SA rugby ,the players and the supporters He is the laughing stock of the rugby world and beyond Players like John Smit ,Burger and Habana need a good kick up the arse and dropped for a few games to give them the urgency and hunger to play for their country again PDiv has had his day so move on Dont complain See the games for what they were Two teams outplaying ,outmuscling and out scoring the Boks at their own game Bring on RWC 2011

  • james - 2010-07-26 06:41

    Can't disagree more with this article. I think you need to take a long hard look at yourselves in the mirror. Cowan's infringement was a penalty, no doubt about that at all. But to head butt him!!!! Deserved to be sent off. But all the yellow cards aside. South Africa in all three games had not one tactic on attack other than to kick the ball and chase and hope that the opponent dropped it. They were poor on defence and the AB's and Wallabies were good in all departments. SA looked poorly coached, tired, and had no passion. Easy to blame the ref, but really, SA lost all three games themselves.

  • dave - 2010-07-26 06:49

    Their fate was determined a long time before was actually determined when that fool with the big moustache took over as coach. Get rid of this pip squeak midget and get a real coach!!!

  • slg - 2010-07-26 06:55

    The problems are: 1) Our administration: for arranging a game in Wales for the money, when the team should have been at home preparing; 2) Our management: for getting the players to NZ just a few days before the first test, which resulted in them being sleep deprived and not in their bodies in the match (the main reason for the loss); 3) Our coaching: the coaching staff are not Springbok calibre. They've been over-promoted. They have no track-record in the established competitions (Currie Cup, Super 14) that should lead to selection as Springbok coaches. The problem is not with the players. By all accounts, we have an outstanding crop with great depth. We won the Super 14, with two teams in the final. It's not the players. It's not the players.

  • Rugby Fan - 2010-07-26 06:56

    JJ fair article but i think you are wrong in one major department -the Boks have Zero discipline -After the first game they should have smartened up a little and play to our strengths and stop making the same mistakes.Alot of the senior players look tired and jaded ,why not rest them it is not like we do not have any talent to back them up .Don't spear tackle and don't head butt and maybe you will stay on the field -Another thing that bothers me is this attitude that "they are getting away with murder" stick to the rules and you will not get penalised -I know there have been crap mistakes by the ref but that goes both ways

  • koos - 2010-07-26 07:03

    i said last week that with mattfields fines, yellows wil be dished out.matt was so scared for yellows he forgot to jump in the line outs and hero s to zeros.oliviers hair was not even deur mekaar at end of the game,spies is still finding the ball .habana looks like a has been. danie likes to give the ball away to the other team in a tackel.schalk hair is to long he can not even see who to pass the ball to.js is to scared ot take on the rev .still want to know wat the revs pay was after the game.

  • Piet - 2010-07-26 07:13

    If you play with 14 men then you will loose. Get rid of that extra centre/wing and non playing captain John Smit. His permanent position on the field is next to Habana, not with the forwards.

  • BurgIesburnin - 2010-07-26 07:13

    The only way to stop you lot moaning about the ref and how unfair it is that the boks are not allowed to get away with murder and making the rules up to suit them as they go along is to let Bakkies Botha or Div referee the next game. Mind you, I doubt that they could even win then.

  • Jon - 2010-07-26 07:19

    Harmse, you're clearly delusional. The Boks were never ever good enough to beat either NZ or Oz with their hopelessly one-dimensional kick-and-chase game and their ten-try leaky defence. Rod Kafer, the former Wallaby centre summed it all up nicely by saying NZ played next year's rugby, SA played last year's rugby and Oz were somewhere between. The Antipodeans will crush SA in their own backyard too. They have the game-plan and the skills to do that.

  • Martin - 2010-07-26 07:21

    Danie Rossouw player of the tournament?? After Saturday's very poor performance by him I don't even think he should be in the 22.

  • David - 2010-07-26 07:29

    I honestly think the ref's in all three games were so poor it wasnt even funny. It felt like a soccer world cup ref!!! How can a side play to there best knowing that the ref might blow them for nothing and offer yellow cards with the media just waiting to see how many more yellows can be obtained!

  • Hannetjie - 2010-07-26 07:34

    Although there had been some bad decisions from the refs we cannot blame the bad play of the Boks all on them!!!! I think that we were just to 'comfortable' and 'untouchable' in our own minds and have, unlike the All Blacks and Wallabies, not worked hard enough at our game! Time to wake up Boks - the hardest part of being champions is not to get there but to STAY there!!!!!!

  • changeisneeded - 2010-07-26 07:34

    Bakkies being the turning point is spot on. Coach snor, going on the defensive is not going to help, back in the day coaches and players did not get involved with quarrels over referee decisions. They played the game, and that is why we came up tops. We need to focus on structures on defense and around the break downs. We need Coetzee to be the next coach not White!!!

  • Neil - 2010-07-26 07:41

    Danie Rossouw??? Player of the tournament for the Boks???? He defendes like he had no arms on Saturday, almost all the attackers got through. Once or twice he ran well but first time tackles are important...He is also not the only person that defended badly.

  • JR - 2010-07-26 07:45

    Wat ek nie verstaan nie is dat Div nie hierdie week gemoan het nie. Ek voel hy moes. Seker maar stil gemaak deur SARVU. Ek het hom laasweek uitgejou maar ek moet se dat ek was verkeerd. Ek kan nie verstaan hoe die refs en die lynregters so blind kan wees nie. Jean het die speler slegs opgetel waar daar teen ons spelers dieselfde gedoen word bv die tackle teen Voctor gebeur daar niks. Hulle gaan doelbewus onkant nie 'n geel kaart nie, niks gebeur nie. Ek is nou gatvol vir hierdie eenkantige rugby. Ek sou afloop.

  • Johno - 2010-07-26 07:46

    As I have always believed in any business situation ( and rugby is a big business) that the fish rots from the head down. Last year the AB and Wallabies lost to the Boks a lot of times, and we became very cocky about it this year.So their management also went and did their hoemwork. They did not fire their coaches, get hysterical and go into a big sulk, but made sure the management took the blame and looked for the correct remedy.Now we can see the reuslts.BUT it is PdV that is in my opinion lacking those management skills that Henry and Deans possess to devise the action plan that is needed to get the correct wheels turning to bring about the better management skills to solve this problem. I honestly think this good 'slap in the face' that we have gotten from the past 3 test is just the tonic we need to re-assess our situation and work on it. Its only that I do not think PdV has the necessary management skills to implement a new plan or where to start the implementation. He has no idea how to draw up a business plan or what the content must be.Fire him? No that would be stupid and defeatest a year away from the RWC. Just put him on the mantleshelf and quietly bring in the "manne" with nous and brains and set about rectifying this lapse. because that is all it is - a lapse in a lot of things.

  • Please - 2010-07-26 07:46

    Just get rid of John Smit, Wynand Olivier, January - all to slow. We also need to play with a fetcher. A Hooker (Tiann Liebenberg and Gary Botha) that can do that job and Francois Louw (cannot believe they left him out) Tries gets scored from quick turnover ball and we did not get any on Saturday.

  • Steele - 2010-07-26 07:51

    Thought there was a reason why I supported Holland & the Boks........if we can't win the match then we'll win the fight..........Biast B@$t@9ds

  • Ray - 2010-07-26 07:51

    What will happen to Cooper, who was also sin binned for a spear tackle?

  • Chris M - 2010-07-26 07:55

    Enough complainng about the refs Last year the same refs were used in various games Then the Boks were "the best" according to same reporters (if they could be called that). The Boks were outplayed, out thought in all three games Just check the all time stats of the Triantions to seel the truth

  • martin albert - 2010-07-26 07:57

    What a comedy of errors. Refs were a joke out to teach the Boks a lesson. I have never seen such a poor Bok team. At one stage I thought they were playing touch rugby. Nobody knows how to tackle anymore! Ruaan was a disaster. Spies had to be best of a bad bunch. Habana needs to stop looking for the intercept. Bakkies should never play again. Matfield needs retirement! Finally when are the boks going to learn that tackling is all about getting the ball, something their opponents are superb at, even with the blind refs.

  • Kiwi/mauri - 2010-07-26 08:01

    now did'nt i tell you that we were gonna have a threesome but you did not listen so don't touch me on my studio

  • Molefe - 2010-07-26 08:01

    Stop trying to make excuses for an utterly worthless team! The Referees did NOT cause us to loose. We lost because we where outplayed and out thought. comprehensively so! The fault rests with our useless "slowarse" captain and a management team that cannot think its way out of a paper bag! Get rid of the Wiepie Rubbish and you will allready improve the team by 50%! The other 50% improvement will come once the "braindead" planners realise that the all the new rule changes are geared to defeat the "kick the ball and pray" game that we used to win the last world cup. The definition of madness is not to sit and bang your head against the wall all day, but to expect a different outcome every time! My biggest gripe is that nobody in SARU will see this!

  • Steve - 2010-07-26 08:04

    So many excuses to cover a poor and dismal performance. The Aussies and All Blacks rugby sides have all progressed, and SA has regressed. Time for a major re-shuffle starting with the coach

  • Ian - 2010-07-26 08:07

    When Div was appointed, my prediction was that we would not win the wrld cup for another 8 or maybe even 12 years. Simply for the reason that Dic inherited a sound structure built up by Jake White. Div has been a train driver coach, enjoy the fruits of Jakes coaching. Unfortunately the train has run out of steam and Div has no idea what to do. Ian

  • sarie - 2010-07-26 08:09

    Stop blaming Div, when we won all the cups and countries every one was behind him. These guys are professionals - I'm one as well and when my work is below standard no one fires my boss - I have to produce and pull myself together - there is so much experience in this side the only problem was that they thought they have become untouchable and that they could not be beaten. Drop them and play with guys who are stull hungry for the bok jursey - if we loose then we will at least loose with pride - and I still think there is enough players playing currie cup who can beat this current bok side six love!!!!

  • die yster - 2010-07-26 08:10

    Piv daddy is a looser. Bring back Mr. White.