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Springbok Rugby Indaba

All eyes and ears of rugby lovers were focused on Newlands this week as the cream of South African rugby converged to plot and plan the resurrection of the ailing patient.

Perhaps I should rephrase that and rather call it the milk of SA rugby. The cream would have included the likes of Nick Mallett, Heyneke Meyer, P(i)eter de Villiers and Jake White.

Unfortunately, discussions are held behind closed doors, with a media briefing scheduled after the close of the event this afternoon. It is a bit disappointing that no journalist have managed to syphon off some secret confessions from a trusted source yet. Leaking confidential information is part and parcel of the modern South Africa, be it sport or politics.

The news that Franco Smith, JP Ferreira and Louis Koen are to accompany the Springboks on the European excursion is certainly a step in the right direction. I feel sorry for Chean Roux, who was axed, after being asked to act in a stand in capacity after the sudden departure of Jacques Nienaber to Munster. One has to ask, though, whether

  1. he should have been appointed and
  2. whether he should have accepted the position

It appears that Mzwandile Stick will remain with the side and work with Franco Smith.

Rumours were rife that Blue Bulls defence coach Pine Pienaar was in the mix, so the announcement of Ferreira came as a bit of a surprise.

Vrystaat teen die Bulle

Ondersteuners van die Vrystaat beskuldig my telkens daarvan dat ek in die verlede nooit iets goeds van hulle span te sê gehad het nie. Vir my sou trooswoorde soos “amper manne” en “sjoe, dit was close” nou nie juis bemoedigend klink nie, toe sê ek maar liewer niks.

Op ‘n ernstiger noot: Die Vrystaat het vanjaar die Leeus se vaandel as die span wat die mooiste rugby in die land speel, afgerokkel. Vir die oorgrote meerderheid rugbyondersteuners wat nie in die States bly nie, insluitend myself, is die span van Bloem hul tweede grootste gunsteling. Hulle verdien die eer om die finaal tuis aan te bied en ons wens hulle alle sterkte toe.

In 2005 was die Bulle in presies dieselfde posisie as wat die Vrystaat vandag is. Ongelukkig vir hulle het die Vrystaters daardie dag foutlose rugby gespeel en die onmoontlike vermag.

Ek onthou nog die grappie wat daarna virale status bereik het:

Hoe kry jy die prop terug in ‘n vonkelwynbottel?

Nee, ek weet ook nie. Vra vir ‘n Bul ondersteuner.

Dit sal ‘n reuse fout wees om ‘n uitslag in die guns van die Vrystaat as voldonge feit te aanvaar voor die eindfluitjie geblaas het. Daarvoor is die Bulle eenvoudig te ‘n trotse unie.

Daar is ‘n storie wat my nogal baie hieraan laat dink.

Die ou dronkie lê in die sypaadjie, hoog in die takke. Die dominee stap verby, stap nader en waai sy hand so voor die ou se ongefokuste oë verby en vra:

“Hoe gaan jy dit verduidelik as die liewe Vader jou nou kom haal?”

Die dronkie wuif so verdedigend soos ‘n voos geslaande bokser voor hom en antwoord:

“Dis nie net vir kom vat nie!”

All Blacks/Wallabies

Apparently, black market tickets for this match are selling at three times the normal price.

No wonder, with the All blacks determined to improve the record for successive wins by a big nation when they take on Australia at Eden Park in Auckland. The All Blacks last lost at this venue in 1994, so the term “staring down the barrel” is most apt for the Aussies.

Wallabies coach, Michael Cheika, is delaying his team announcement until Friday to keep the All Blacks guessing. Apparently he is planning a surprise in terms of his locks selection, opting for a rookie pair to start and replacing them later on with Kane Douglas and Rob Simmons.

The Springboks learnt the hard way that you cannot play catch up rugby against the All Blacks, a lesson likely to be repeated on Saturday. The All Blacks are very good at reading the game as it progresses and making the necessary adjustments.

I nearly caught myself going soft and saying ag shame, Wallabies.

Dit gaan nie mooi wees nie.

 

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