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by djp

Dear Gavin Rich

October 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

Hey guys, I just read this article Gavin Rich published on Supersport http://www.supersport.com/rugby/blogs/gavin-rich/Cup_to_spend_Christmas_in_Durban

& I got so upset, I just had to write him a Dear Gavin letter..

Dear Gavin

I love reading your rugby articles because I love everything South African rugby & I like your unique view on the sport like every very good sportswriter has. But the last couple of weeks, you’ve disappointed me with some of the stuff you’ve been writing & just like you have an opinion, so do I so, here goes:

Since the Boks returned from the Rugby Championship, you’ve been blowing so much smoke up John Plumtree’s a** while at the same time having a real go at Alistair Coetzee whenever the opportunity presents itself & I for one, cannot understand why. Aren’t Both of these coaches’ teams playing in the Currie cup final this coming weekend??  Shouldn’t that in itself be some sort of an achievement that both teams can feel proud of??

Plum had a very good year, he lead his team to a Super rugby final & he’s got a very good chance to add another Currie cup title to his resume & he did it by not being afraid to blend youth with experienced heads while playing a brand of rugby that’s both entertaining yet effective.

.

So with that being said, I will have no quarrel if he should win coach of the year & depending how the teams play this Saturday, I won’t feel that bad if the Sharks win. But I feel the way you’ve been going after Coetzee especially regarding player selection, I have to stand up & (at least) try to defend the man.

It all started when Coetzee decided to play all his returning Springboks for the game against the Cheetahs. Now Gav (can I call you Gav) what you seem to forget is that WP came off a bit of a losing streak prior to that game & needed to win that game to qualify for the playoffs. Now what coach wouldn’t do what Coetzee did??

Mind you the Sharks (prior to their game against the Griquas) knew that a win would put them top of the log & knew that was very possible considering who they played & where they played them, Province didn’t have that luxury. I think Alistair made the right choice to start his Boks, maybe he left some of them on for too long? Sure he did coz I think that game was over for the Cheetahs by the 60th minute but I still think he made the right choice by starting the Boks.

Now just because he started Jean instead Brache, Tiaan instead of Scarra or Etzebeth instead of Steenkamp, that doesn’t mean (at all) that he doesn’t have faith in their abilities, especially the youngsters. It simply means he had better options. Take the All Blacks for example: Im sure Steve Hansen has the utmost confidence in Aaron Cruden to get the job done but why start him for an important game when you have Daniel Carter available?? I’m sorry Gav, but for me, it just doesn’t make any sense. And we didn’t lose Jean, Tiaan & Bekker to injuries because they were overplayed (well maybe Jean) but because injuries happen all the time!! It’s part of professional sports & everyone involved in sports know that.

Like I said, John is a good coach & kudos to him for sticking with his younger players instead of playing all his returning Boks but Coetzee is not Plum & WP is not the Sharks. I have no doubt that WP’s younger players earned plenty of experience in this Currie cup campaign due to Bok call ups & an injury list that would give the Ozzy rugby team a run for their money & then some. And once again due to injuries, some of these youngsters will once again pick up a couple of lessons this coming Saturday which will go a long way for next year’s Super rugby strenuous campaign.

I guess with all of this, the only point I’m trying to make Gav is that considering the year the Stormers / WP had, considering their injury list & the amount of youngsters he Also used throughout the season, you can give Alistair Coetzee a little bit more credit.. and respect!!

I’m outy

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by djp

And the SA Rugby Player of the year is???

October 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

It’s almost that time of the year again where we’ll find out who our annual SA Rugby Player of the year will be & in a year where South Africa didn’t exactly play the world on fire, the list of candidates for the prestigious award, in my book should look a little thin. But before I get to my candidates & the guy I think should win, I have to say that I’m not entirely sure what the criterion is for actually being a candidate. Here are just a couple of points I’m unsure about:

  • Does performances for your club in local & international tournaments count? Because I know there are also awards like the Super Rugby & Currie Cup P O Y?
  • If you only played for the Boks & didn’t play in any of the southern hemisphere club competitions, how many games did you have had to play for the Boks to be considered a candidate?
  • Did you have to play for the Boks to be considered a SA P.O.Y candidate?

So with that in mind, I’ll first start with my (h.m) honourable mentions, followed by the candidates & the winner:

Francois Louw

When o when will Bok coaches realize that playing a flanker who’s got the skills to compete for the ball on the ground has become an important weapon to have in your arsenal?? One hates to wonder what the Boks results might have been, had Flo (& some others) had an earlier or more extended run during our rugby championship campaign. I have to be honest & say that I didn’t or don’t follow his progression at Bath but for those few games he played for Boks, he definitely deserves an h.m. I’d be very surprised if doesn’t start against the Irish in a couple of weeks’ time.

Johan Goosen

Whoa!! Yeah I know, Goosen?? Really?? And yes im serious (remember these are only mentions). Goosen had a brilliant season for the Cheetahs in Super Rugby before he got injured yet he still finished 6th on the top point scorer list. This was more than enough evidence for Meyer to call up the young pivot for some ruggas on the highest level & he didn’t disappoint. He basically threw Steyn out of the team like a bouncer would a drunkie in a club, until the injury bug struck him again.  H.m for SA POY but definitely a candidate for newcomer of the year.

The candidates

Bismarck du Plessis

Very few in the rugby heaven can’t regard the Shark hooker as the best in his position for a few years now & this season has been no different to the others. The younger Du Plessis brother represents everything South African forwards are renowned & respected for: Big, strong, robust & direct & I think we all knew his season was over when we saw him in pain in that test against Argentina as we as Bok fans have become accustomed, even spoilt with the man’s never-quit play. However, he did do enough to once again throw his name in the hat for this important award.

Keegan Daniel

This Sharks loosie is quickly becoming the forgotten man when it comes to Bok rugby & even as a passionate Stormer / WP supporter, I think it’s a crying shame. He had an unbelievable season with the Sharks where he miraculously lead them to a Super rugby final against all odds & there’s also a strong possibility that his team could find themselves in another Currie Cup final for 3 years in a row now. But between the 2 club competitions he was (unfairly maybe?) given limited game time in the green & gold which could dent his chances for the Bok award.

Marcell Coetzee

I don’t know how the Sharks do it but it looks like every 2 years or so, they produce someone who has the potential to become to a Bok for a very long time. One just has to look at guys like Bissy, Steyn, Pat & now Coetzee to justify my point. With Burger & Brussow injured, Coetzee not only was one of the Sharks’ best loosies in Super rugby (& that takes some doing in itself), but took his opportunity in the Bok jersey with both hands. He seldom had a bad game for the Boks & as a rookie that is really remarkable. He can consider himself a bit unlucky as a loosie because the Bok trio of Flo, Alberts & Vermeulen looked very well balanced AND then there are also Mr Burger, Spies, Daniel, Brussow & even Smith he’ll have to compete with next season.

Eben Etzebeth

It’s unbelievable that this behemoth of a kid isn’t even 21 yet & it’s even more unbelievable that he made his Super rugby & Bok debut before he made his Currie cup debut (just last week). I think last year we were all a bit concerned what life was going to be like without Bakkies in the engine room & now we can convincingly say: it’s a looks a lil bit brighter. The Cape lock even has the Bulls’ great’s tendencies for rubbing the IRB the wrong way as his suspension proved for the ghost head-butt he gave Sharpe last month. If the injury bug can stay away, he can make that nr.4 jersey his own for a very long time as he’s already shown this past season.

Ps: It’s actually going to be interesting to see who the newcomer of the year is going to be: Goosen? Coetzee? Etzebeth? Hmmm..

And the winner is:

Bryan Habana

The artist formerly known as Jetshoes has in time not only become the world’s all-time leading try scorer still actively playing for his country (apart from a dude playing for Japan) but he’s also arguably the world’s hardest working winger. It was kind of a blessing in disguise when a couple of seasons ago the Stormer wingman struggled to score to tries but he kept his place in the team because what he may have lost in scoring tries, he made up with chases, tackles & everything in between. This season he was a regular visitor behind the try line & got there with a mix of looking for work (the try against Oz where he snapped the ball before Pienaar could get it & dove over for a fiver) & some Habana magic (the break, chip & chase try against NZ). I really hope he wins it to just to prove to the young Boks: Hard work does pay off.

I’m outy

Ps: Feel free to gimme your candidates & winners

 

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