Hats off to the Aussies for a very gutsy performance against the All Blacks. Hopefully Higginbotham will have his bottom severely kicked for kneeing and head butting McCaw.
Loved this snippet in the Sydney Morning Herald, quoting Nathan Sharpe:
When asked what was going through his mind as Carter struck a potentially match-winning kick, Sharpe replied: “I thought ‘s–t’.
To the Shark Tank we Go
The Lions should have won, but did not, courtesy of an off-day with the boot for Elton Jantjes. Ten out of ten for WP, for never giving up. That try, eight seconds from full time, will do a lot for their confidence, going to Durban on Saturday.
The Sharks arrived with their feet on the ground, and stuck to the basics in difficult conditions. They simply outplayed the Bulls in all departments. Even those players chosen ahead of the returning Springboks, showed the value of having been part of the team in the build-up to Saturday’s semi-final.
One aspect of the final that I am really looking forward to, is the battle upfront between the reigning Bok front row and the young crown princes from the Cape.
What Might Have Been
I read a fascinating article by Brenden Nel on the Supersport webpage which touches on a topic hotly debated in this blog.
McCaw.has survived over the years because every now and then we get things right. We manage to stumble onto success every few years because we simply cannot shoot ourselves in the foot that often.
We have a massive pool of talent, but we rip into players at the first sign of weakness, not to mention the fact that virtually every single provincial coach in this country has not done enough to develop the vast untapped resources of up-and-coming black talent in the country.
Instead, we think along provincial lines and complain about those South Africans who wear All Black jerseys and abuse our Springbok players who they see as the enemy, but feel nothing when our own fellow Bok supporters do the same to the players they claim represents them on the field.
Every test defeat is treated as the end of the world, and virtually every single Springbok coach is on his way to being fired the day he is appointed to the job.
Compare this to New Zealand who has just seen Graham Henry hand over the coaching reigns to an assistant who has been with the team for more than 100 tests, after an eight-year reign himself.
Compare this to the legacy of success which runs through the veins of New Zealand rugby, where the central contracting system allows for coaches and players to be supported by their peers.
There is a sense in New Zealand that everything flows upward, that every decision or movement, every game-plan, is used to benefit the All Blacks. Everything is done for a singular goal.
Of course there are failings in every system, and of course there are some examples of where they get it wrong, but when last did you hear a provincial coach complain about an All Black coach the way John Plumtree did this weekend about the Boks?
Never mind the way Jake White savaged Peter de Villiers during his reign, or the way White was subjected to a panel of ex-Bok coaches when he was trying to see the Bok squad through a difficult time.
Click here to read the full article.
This made me think of when Jake White vacated the hot seat. He indicated that Allister Coetzee was the right man for the job, but this did not happen. Looking at the success Coetzee achieved within the WP setup, where even an astute rugby man such as Rassie could not see his way clear to stay, one wonders what might have happened had he been appointed?
It would have satisfied all the criteria which led to the appointment of Pieter de Villiers, and much more. Possibly the main reason for Coetzee not being picked, was the unhealthy relationship between the rugby bosses and Jake White, rather than shortcomings on the side of Coetzee, who was White’s assistant in 2007.