Whingeing won't help Boks

2010-07-20 12:59

Brisbane - Saloons in the Wild West often carried a notice: "Do not shoot the pianist, he is doing his best." This instruction came to mind when the madcap coach of the Springboks, Peter de Villiers, tried to explain his team's two comprehensive losses to the All Blacks.

According to Rugby Heaven correspondent Spiro Zavos, De Villiers suggested the Springboks had been persecuted by the referees. He threatened to "prepare guys to cheat" to turn this around. For the record, the penalty/free-kick count at Wellington under the Irishman Alain Rolland was 10-9 in favour of New Zealand. One penalty to South Africa was turned around after Danie Rossouw was given a yellow card for flicking Richie McCaw in the eyes and then kneeing him.

This hardly seems like the persecution of a team that was outplayed. And in Auckland in the first Tri-Nations Test, the Springboks were awarded seven consecutive penalties in the middle part of the match, and were well ahead in the penalty count despite being thrashed on the scoreboard.

The referee was Alan Lewis, another Irishman. Early on in this Test, Bakkies Botha headbutted All Blacks scrumhalf Jimmy Cowan out in the open, an atrocity that was missed by the referee and the assistant referees. Botha, who was defended by De Villiers, was banned for nine weeks. On Sunday, Jean de Villiers was banned for two weeks for a dangerous spear tackle at Wellington.

South Africa's problem is not so much with the referees but with their game plan, which is based on the premise that "might is right''. The problem for South Africa and De Villiers is that their thugby/kicking penalties game does not work against strong opponents under the interpretations of the laws. The reason for this was explained by the All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith before the Tests: "You can't kill the ball on the ground any more, you can't slow it down, you have to get out of there, it is a totally different game."

The interpretations are designed to open up rugby and allow teams to run the ball without the fear of incurring penalties to teams, such as the Springboks, which play a negative kicking and pressure game. The All Blacks have scored 24 tries in five Tests this season by being prepared to run the ball from inside their own 22. This is one fewer than they scored in 14 Tests last season. In two Tests against the Boks they have scored eight tries to two. Israel Dagg's fabulous try came after 12 phases of play. Interestingly, the two Springboks tries came towards the end of the second Test when they started to run the ball.

There is more than keeping the ball in hand about the All Blacks' game plan. They often tackled the Springboks runners around the legs. The runners dropped to the ground like felled logs. Then the second player to the tackle moved in and, legitimately, attacked the ball. The result was five All Blacks turnovers from rucks and mauls (one of them leading to a try and others saving tries) to two by the Springboks. The Springboks, on the other hand, continued last season's tactic of often not allowing the runner to place the ball, and were correctly penalised.

Poor coaching by De Villiers, therefore, has ensured that the Springboks have not yet adjusted to the "totally different game" of 2010.

This brings us to Saturday's Test in Brisbane between the Wallabies and the Springboks. The referee is another Irishman, George Clancy. His style, unfortunately, is more like that of a martinet rather than the facilitator that the IRB's referees boss Paddy O'Brien says he wants. "We don't want them to be traffic cops out there," he told journalists earlier this season.

If Clancy referees in the spirit and intention of the new interpretations like Rolland, this will help the high-octane running game the Wallabies will try to play. A Clancy of the overflowing penalties, though, will help the Boks' dated, negative game.

Rugby Heaven

  • THE MAN - 2010-07-20 13:08

    this has got to be the saddest most sorry bunch of loosers i have ever seen, what a joke of a team...usless spring bucks hahah

  • like nooit hey - 2010-07-20 13:15

    Ai spiro....'their thugby/kicking penalties game' LOL you gotta luv this guy

  • AB Supporter - 2010-07-20 13:22

    Well said Spiro, as usual hitting the nail flush on the head! The Boks and their supporters are the biggest bunch of whining faggots I've seen in my life. From their overweight tellytubby of a captain to their brain-dead coach... all they do is bitch, bitch, bitch... Even the idiotic Bobby Skinstad wet himself on Saturday evening. What a dick!

  • Andrew - 2010-07-20 13:22

    If you call falling over the ruck legal than you must rather wach other sports. Why does Mccaw get 4 warnings for such ingringments in the red zone but for a bump (some referees have to be reminded that rugby is a contact sport) Danie gets a yellow. This article does not make mention of the fact that Cowen pulled Bakkies back or of the fact that Dagg shouldered the living hell out of Zane. Poor written article that is as biased as the refs themeselves. Get another job because you suck at this one.

  • @author - 2010-07-20 13:23

    I agree with most of your article. But, to believe that the All blacks second player "moved in and, legitimately, attacked the ball", after a tackle situation, is absolute hogwash! Why is Richie Mckaw above the law? How many warnings can a rugby player receive before something is done? I agree with Devilliers, If you cant beat them....join them, we must go balls to the wall and climb all over the ruck, and come in from all angles in the maul. This seems to be the way you have to go if you want to win a test match.

  • Rex - 2010-07-20 13:24

    Oh please, this journalist is a complete moron. If you believe him you might as well believe those awful South African All Black supporters from Mitchells Plein or Grassy Park

  • Bob - 2010-07-20 13:36

    This "dated, negative" game has won the Boks two world cups, you doos. How many have Australia and New Zealand won?

  • Spiro is an Idiot! - 2010-07-20 13:36

    Open your Eyes!!!

  • Durbsviking - 2010-07-20 13:38

    Fair enough - it does not however explain the rather one-eyed citing of players like Jean de Villiers and not Rene Ranger for his tackle on Kirchner. TO add insult to injury the NZ press claimed Kirchner was lucky to escape citing for a tackle HE made on Cory Jane. The juducial process is, at best, flawed and at worst downright cheating. There should be a system of appeal and clarification where the Citing Official needs to explain why he did NOT cite for instances like Ranger's.

  • dubloki - 2010-07-20 13:46

    Thanks Spiro for the usual drivel.

  • drukkie - 2010-07-20 13:51

    And what about the tackle not using arms...nothing happened to that dude...and the two OFFICIAL warnings given to All blacks... Go talk rubbish somewhere else...

  • kevin - 2010-07-20 13:56

    Just one simple enquiry to an "expert" like New Zealand rugby writer Spiro Zavos about the shoulder barge by Ranger on Kirchner, the one that went unnoticed by the citing commissioner, who instead acted against Jean de Villiers for a relatively harmless up-ending of Ranger. Are you also so one-eyed in your dislike of the 'boks that you are completely incapable of seeing the slightest wrongdoing by an All Black? And please comment about whether you think the citing commissioner was right or wrong in ignoring the bone-crunching tackle on Kirscher, the one where Ranger's shoulder impacted the fullback's neck with no use of the tackler's arms?

  • Durbanite - 2010-07-20 13:59

    As usual the one eyed Aussie commentators skewing the facts, Rousseau didn't knee MC caw but prodded him with his foot, this was dangerous enough for a yellow card but the head high shoulder charge by Ranger was not!! Botha was sent off for the first infringement but MC caw was allowed consistently in slowing the ball down with repeated warnings! 5 warnings ! In both instances the AB'S scored twice which meant catch up. The problem is the refs are setting the standard early but then not applying that standard to both teams. At least those idiot aussie refs Paul Marks and now Steve Walsh are not involved so hopefully the ref for this week will blow fairly, somehow I doubt it as he will up against the propaganda from the Aussie's.

  • James - 2010-07-20 14:03

    I unfortunately have to concur with Spiros. We are currently playing a negative kicking game and losing yet in the S14 our top 2/3 sides dominated by playing open running rugby. Why change a winning formula? Coaching issues?

  • Alan - 2010-07-20 14:03

    Div. wake up! Just ask the senior players in the team how their S14 coaches like Ludeke and Coetzee had them play towards the new rules. Is this not why their two teams ended up in the S14 final? Our players know very well how to perform and win under the so called new rules.

  • The Boss - 2010-07-20 14:06

    Rich coming from you, you useless bag of hot air. The ab's have a wonderful tendency to peak between World Cups. History is repeating itself again. See you you useless bag of scum at the world cup!

  • @THE MAN - 2010-07-20 14:07

    No that would be that black team called Bafana

  • Craig - 2010-07-20 14:08

    Allain Rolland and Spiro Zavos... The meeting of the one-eyed men! If Zavos knew anything about the Boks he would know that the stats don't matter. We proved against the BI Lions that you don't have to look like the better side (or have the better stats) to win. All you need is guts and a neutral ref.

  • Rick Cranium - 2010-07-20 14:10

    Here we go again, old aged greek rugby expert sprouting kak. While I agree that De Villiers and co. have to change their tactics this coming Saturday, to call the Boks game Thugby is very harsh. The All Blacks are the darlings of world rugby and ref's rarely penalise them harshly for their transgressions. Was Roussouw's kick on Ritchie as harsh as the shoulder charge on Zane Kirchner? Was the right punishment dished out to both players? Was Richie given a last warning 3 times by Mr Rolland on Saturday? Watch the game before commenting you stupid chop.

  • Drivel - 2010-07-20 14:14

    While we all have to admit the Boks haven't played very well on this tour, it is more apparent that you don't know much about rugby. Or you must be completely blind!!!!! What a dickwad.

  • Bitchy - 2010-07-20 14:18

    To Mr: AB Supporter, Glad to see your rugby brain goes as far as New Zealander finding a sheep in the dark.....up the ass!!! Fortunately after the last world cup NZ kept quiet and after they lost the Tri Nations they kept quiet again....what a load or RUBISH. Watch your rugby magazine programme "Reunion" and you will see bitching!!! I feel sorry for you next year when SA win the RWC in your back garden, lets see who bitches then. As for the "tellytubby" SA captain I doubt there is anyone in the history of NZ rugby that can boast the amount of trophies he has won, maybe Mr Mccaw needs to grow a bit of a bell so he can stop cheating. Wake the F@#K up you clown before you write on any wall next time.

  • drukkie - 2010-07-20 14:19

    And what about the tackle not using arms...nothing happened to that dude...and the two OFFICIAL warnings given to All blacks... Go talk rubbish somewhere else...

  • AB Supporter 2 - 2010-07-20 14:24

    @Bob, Australia have also won 2 world cups like SA. @Kevin, Spiros is Australian. @Durbanite, McCaw got 2 warnings. One of which was official (I agree that was a bad call). I think everyone here needs to reread the title because it is quite pertinent. Whinging will not help the boks! Change your style of play or you are going to get d1cked next year at the world cup! You can complain all you want but that is the brutal truth.

  • EISH - 2010-07-20 14:25

    spiro your column is as affective as pdv is a coach!

  • Stavros - 2010-07-20 14:28

    Spiro, stargeriyasou

  • JZ - 2010-07-20 14:29

    here we go again another ref that hates us

  • Eye for sound - 2010-07-20 14:30

    As usual another load of absolute drivel from this one-eyed BlackMonster...................

  • Jannas - 2010-07-20 14:30

    How did Zavos get the job? Did he bribe someone. Agreed that PdV should try not to open his mouth, but poor refereeing had been a issue for some time. PdV is right that there is no consistency but I'm not so sure that the SA teams are targeted. Our team has a few prima-donnas where poor discipline is a serious problem. When these idiots query the ref, the ref gets back at them. The Bokke should play with poor refereeing in mind (like the Bulls do).

  • Francois - 2010-07-20 14:31

    The Boss and Kevin, yes Spiros is a doos but an Aussie doos, not a Kiwi doos.

  • @AB Supporter - 2010-07-20 14:39

    AB Supporter, considering the Boks wiped your arses last year time and again, your comments are a little premature. How many world cups has NZ won again? Man for man, you know the Boks are a better team than the AB's. Looser.

  • John - 2010-07-20 14:48

    Thats ABSOLUTELY and PROFOUNDLY correct!!! Because Spiros the AB's already have 10 points on the board!!! So whingeing will not help... It seems however the only thing that WILL HELP is cheating!!! How much do you guys budget for when choosing which ref's to officiate?

  • Francois de Lange - 2010-07-20 14:49

    To all you poor AB supporters. Take out the Fidji, Samoa and other Polenisian players out NZ. Where will you be? We are still the World Champs, Tri Nations and S14 champs. Talk about sorry losers. To Spiro Zavos, how come we played the same laws in the S14 and McCaw was penalised every game. How come to SA teams played in the Final. The SA teams as a whole had fewer penalties than Oz an NZ. Get real.

  • ProudlyBok - 2010-07-20 15:05

    You still haven't told us how the Australians and the Kiwi's manage to pay the ref's... Funny that it is almost always a one sided affair in certain stadiums??? What, do you guys need the supporters so badly that you have to resort to that??? I mean show me ONE lineout that wasn't HORRIBLY scew from the All Blacks? Never mind the forward passes, and spoiling of the ball at the ruck... At least "Thugby" is more entertaining than that UGLY excuse for what you call Rugby...

  • Ingwe - 2010-07-20 15:09

    Good article. So it seems the Boks got more penalties awarded to them over the 2 games so much for a biased ref. Looks like it is another Irish ref for the weekend, maybe all you Bok supporters should get you whinging and moaning in early. The thing I find amazing is many (not all) Bok supporters go on about the whinging Poms but they are much worst. We all know if the Boks lose it will be the refs fault LOL

  • GeePMB - 2010-07-20 15:14

    I see Spiro the worst rugby columnist in the world is sprouting off again. Hey Spiro, NO-ONE cares what your opinion is so so crawl back under your rock.

  • BLOUBUL - 2010-07-20 15:47

    well written article. The facts and only the facts. as you can see from the small minded Bok supporters, they can't deal with facts.

  • JJ Black - 2010-07-20 16:38

    Conspiracy theories aside my BOKKE mates, it doesn't change the fact that you were out played and lost....badly:) So the whole world was against you, the ref was to blame? The AB's are cheats? Time that you folks such it up, take it like a man and say we lost. Have a look at the real reasons as to why you lost. Stop whinging and moaning you are begining to sound like the Aussi's haha:). Good luck against the Wobblies on Sat, you'll need it if you don't change the way you play........

  • Vito - 2010-07-20 17:40

    The fact that the penalty count was similar does not mean that we were not cheated. If this line of argument is allowed, it follows that when one team makes 50 mistakes whilst the other makes 10 mistakes, a penalty count of 10 each should be fair. Think before you write.

  • Stormer - 2010-07-20 18:29

    Spot on the coaching staff must stop looking for excuses and impove their skills in coaching up to now this year they have been found lacking. We have some of the best players in the world but the coach makes the calls or in our case he whinges

  • Voice - 2010-07-20 18:56

    Ok fella`s - I am fully behind the bokke, not a fan but a supporter and hate the fact that we have gone from Hero to Zero in 2 games - according to the legendary rugby supporters across the world. Firstly a family member of mine is an ex bok coach so let me say this. The bokke were outplayed - end of story but we will be back like we always do. Dont think for 1 minute that the AB`s or OZ dont know that. Our senior players are looking senior, our selections are poor and Fourie du Preez is an enormous loss. Last year our kick & chase game was pinpoint (thanks to du Preez), we dont have that this year - horses for courses - must adapt. The AB`s took it last year not once or twice but thrice - why? Dan Carter missing and not in great form, McCaw? also not there for the 1st few games - did they not look average last year? It is our turn now, part of sport dont matter who you are! There is a saying form is temporary class is permanent and we have too much of that not to get up. We might scrape through against OZ but we will beat them here so 4 out of 6 games gives us a realistic chance to win the series, if not, why not scrap this year and bleed in some new players across the board and prepare for the WC which counts the most anyway. The AB`s will peak once again before the WC and the pressure in the WC in NZ will be too much for them to handle - they will however remain the #1 side in the world but not always the best on a given day. As for the ref`s - whatever, we created the problem with stupid dirty rugby and we are not popular, Bakkies is not so clever but at least he can pick up heavy things so what does that help?

  • DEAN - 2010-07-21 04:56

    Firstly to all...Both teams infringe consistantly when needed. Infact most teams do in any sport. SO GET OVER IT. Second... NZ cant bribe the REFs as we dont have the money you can get from Diamond mines. Third...Of course we have not won a world cup since it was last played in NZ, but guess what.. its being played here again!!!! The Boks are not too bad, but at the moment the ABs are better.... Whether you say they cheated or not(blah blah blah). Most people dont like to see their teams loose, just like myself,I still remember when the Boks won the world cup in SA and most of the ABs came down with something (hmmm). But hey theres still the Trinations to play so stop the moaning, open both eyes and support your team.

  • MR - 2010-07-21 07:31

    Spiro Zavos is a Kiwi who has worked as a journalist in Sydney for last 30 years, I agree with his comments as while the Bulls played open attractive rugby and prospered under the new rules the Springboks have played boring defensive rugby and done it badly Spiro Zavos Background He was born in 1937 in Wellington, New Zealand and played one first-class cricket match for Wellington in the 1958-59 season. After gaining a Bachelor of Arts from the Victoria University of Wellington, Zavos taught history at St Patrick's College. In 1967, Zavos gained a Master of Arts (Education) from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. It was then that he moved into journalism, working as a reporter at The Dominion newspaper in Wellington (now amalgamated into The Dominion Post). In 1976 he shared the New Zealand Feature Writer of the Year award with fellow journalist Warwick Roger, won for a series on New Zealand under Prime Minister Robert Muldoon. The following year Zavos moved to Australia. In 1978 he was awarded the Katherine Mansfield Fellowship and spent a year in Menton, France writing a collection of autobiographical short stories, which he later published under the title Faith of Our Fathers. In 1979 he became an editorial writer on the Sydney Morning Herald, where he would remain until 2000. At the Herald, he also moved into rugby writing. He has written seven books on rugby, and has contributed to Radio New Zealand as a sports analyst.

  • Pat - 2010-07-21 07:45

    As soon as the Boks win you dont here about the refs, as soon as they loose its the ref!!!!!!! pethetic

  • Anti - 2010-07-21 10:12

    Here is copy of a secret recording of the ref and captains briefing before the game on Saturday. Ref: Hi guys, John, you didn’t have to come but it’s OK. Right, Richie, as we discussed already I’m pretty much going to let you do whatever you want. Richie: Does that include going off our feet at the ruck and entering from the sides? Ref: Yes sure. Also not releasing the man at the tackle and there’s no offside line for you. Don’t worry about it, I’ve got your back. Richie: Ah good show. I’ll let the suits know and we’ll authorize the money transfer to your account. John: Huh!?? What the hell…. Ref: John! For that outburst I’ll be sure to send one of your players off in the first 5 minutes! Got anything more to say? I’ll have discipline at my meetings! *to Richie* It’s amazing these big Bok dummies just don’t get it do they, Richie? Richie: *sniggers* hee hee….and how funny is their coach? That guy makes me laugh! *Rolland and Richie high-5 each other and giggle* Ref: Don’t forget Richie your boys can do head high shoulder barges all you like. I won’t blow it.

  • rugby guru - 2010-07-21 10:23

    Why all the bitchn and moaning from the Bok players....lets go back last year...Nigel Owens was worst and Alain Rolland the Boks got the rub of the green they adapted very well to these n/hemisphere refs... we have the best refs in the in the S14 why not use them again... Oh no wait the Boks will probably say the Stu & Bryce will rob them quoted by Oregan Hoskins himself...where Marius Jonker is no better himself... I respect Kaplan and Lawrence atleast they admout to mistakes and apologise

  • Me - 2010-07-21 15:35

    @Anti: Bwaaaa hahahahahahahaha! Seriously, that made my day. @Pat: have you made the connection between us losing and bad reffing, and us winning and fair reffing? Maybe we lose BECAUSE of bad reffing, and when the reffing is fair, we win? That would be a cracking reason to complain in my books. We also complain when we win despite of bad reffing, people just don't pay attention to those whinges because "Hey, we won! YAY!". All Blacks are extremely good, no doubt, but it doesn't matter if the penalty count was even, it's how many penalties were missed. THAT was incredibly uneven, hence the "why do the All Blacks get away with so much" question. The thing that killed us was the slow ball at the break down which was ignored at a ref level. And that's ignoring the face-high shoulder siege weapons they call "tackles".

  • Bryan - 2010-07-22 11:28

    Of course whingeing will not help when one is being cheated. This has been going on for years and our cowboys don't cry approach has ment NZ getting away with murder and knowing they can - ditto Oz. The McCaw warnings are all the proof any reasonable person would need to acknowledge the bias. So perhaps this might help: SARU president Oregan Hoskins told the Cape Times newspaper that he had instructed South Africa's representative on the Sanzar legal committee, Judge Lex Mpati, to "take up" the apparent inconsistent rulings against the Springboks. "On the judicial side, I have asked Judge Mpati to take it up," Hoskins said. "A number of stakeholders have complained to me about the lack of consistency in the rulings of the judicial officials in rugby. "I have stressed to Judge Mpati the seriousness of the matter, and he has promised that he will come back to me in writing hopefully by next week. I don't want to say too much further, as previously I have spoken about the issue in the media and nothing has been done about it."I have t oagree it is a ver yserios matter and one hopes will lead to a situation where theBok sand other teams get a fair deal when playing NZ and indeed OZ whose refs have also been biased. No whingeing won't help but action could so congratulations to Hoskins for making a stand and to be willing to face down the whingers accusaations that will surely follow. There is no way Alain can wriggle out of the Mccaw warnings and he will hopefully be on his way out. This will have a salulatory effect on other Oz/Nz refs who think the get the japie mentality can continue. Nz/Oz are close buddies and nobody should think any match reffed by these guys is getting a neutral ref if they are playing either Oz/Nz. We have seen this bias at work repeatedly in the Super 14 and tri nations again and again and again. Enough! Lets weed out all cheats. Cite them and bring them before a panel with the video evidence and ask them to explain. If necessay let the matter be taken to court Players are cited why not refs. We have had more than enough of crap Oz/Nz refs!!!

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