Dear Gavin Rich

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.

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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.

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