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Dear Gavin Rich

October 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

Hey guys, I just read this article Gavin Rich published on Supersport

& 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

16 responses to Dear Gavin Rich

  1. I agree, Gavin lives in the shadows of his co-writers like Brendan Nel at SuperSport. Although he covers the Sharks and Province, he has a very negative opinion towards the latter. He never gives Allistair credit and if he does it somehow has something to do with what he calls the Rassie Erasmus Era.

  2. Thx Tyson, i forgot to mention that ‘Rassie Erasmus Era’ thing.. it’s almost like Coetzee wasnt even there..

  3. Understandably Coetzee was forced to play his returning players. I understand where Gav is coming from. We need to put the National team above the Unions, considering how many now see the Dame of SA Rugby as a 2nd Tier competition.

    And because our administrators is greedy for that little bit of money possibly coming their way, players are burnt even more.

    What urked me on Monday morning was the amount of gloating from WP supporters,once again claiming that they have already won the tournament….i see a massive egg in their faces on Saturday night.

    • On this form I have not read one WP supporters article claiming that they have or even would win the CC final.
      Most I read (including my self) think Sharks are heavy favorites.
      Still for WP with its injury list just being in the final is some sort of achievement.
      I think it is more a case of the Sharks and their supporters that believe that the Sharks have already won and maybe they sort of have but never count out an underdog.

  4. REM, i also understand that we have a problem when it comes to Bok rugby, unions & the availability and playing time of our top players. That is something SARU needs to sort out a.s.a.p

    Ps: I’m a WP supporter & i can tell you that i was very happy when we made the finals.. I’m still happy & proud like any supporter should be but im under no illusion how difficult it’s going to be this coming weekend against a very good Sharks team.

  5. The point Gavin is trying to make is last year both Plumtree and Coetzee rushed in their Boks and both fell flat in the play offs. This year Allistair did the same, but Plum did something different.

    The Sharks overwhelmed the Bulls and WP had lucky escape against a settled Lions team. He is just saying that while Coetzee will be going into the final expecting different results from the same approach, Plum will be there expecting different results from a different approach.

    • Thing is the Sharks situation differs widely from the WP’s.
      The Sharks only has Bismark as a long term injury who is also a 1st choice. The WP have plenty so a lot of the players are already 2nd or 3rd choice.
      The Sharks also have a lot bigger squad than WP. WP used to rely on o/21 for back-up. WP changed their approach for next season though.
      Plus Plumtree like rotating his props and lose trio even at SR level.

      • That injury thing is a whole other story. I remember last year the Stormers also had an injury crisis during their Australasian tour and they had a few injuries throughout the season a well. This year it’s almost the same scenario except for the injured players now mostly playing loose forward.

        I’m no expert, but isn’t their something wrong with their conditioning. I know some injuries, like Bekker’s latest, are really down to bad luck. But it’s when you add these “expected” injuries with the other cases of torn knee ligaments etcetera that one starts to wonder.

  6. Those are some valid points you’re making gert but i’ve read Gavin’s article & his others as well and he said much more than that about Plum & Coetzee & that’s why i decided to write this blog..

    • I have also not yet missed any of Gavin’s articles or columns for at least the past three years and many of them do blow a lot of smoke up Plummers’ ass.

      But Plumtree do come across as one of the more tactically astute coaches in SA. He always finds some technical aspect where he can beat his other SA opponents when it matters. Although the area where he lacks is continuity with his teams’ performances. Which usually puts him in a bad play off situation like last year and the year before that.

      This Sharks team, bar a few youngsters, is one that he has been building since 2008 and in many ways they deserve some success coming their way.

      Although WP has a fairly young team, AC has been the coach for about four seasons as well. While Plum can at least boast a CC victory in 2008 & 2010, AC still has some silverware to win.

      A loss on Saturday will for any of the teams should leave the loser with a lot to reflect on regarding his approach for next season.

      Just as Plum cant really afford to loose a CC with a team he has been building for four years, AC cant always hide behind his young team. His team has been young for four years now.

  7. well in that vein you will have to note that WP U21 are playing the currie cup final.

  8. YES, yes they are!!

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