25 August 1956 – Eden Park, Auckland
It was the Springboks best performance of the tour. A real confidence booster after the shock defeat against the University side but at the same time a game that had a negative impact in more than one way. It showed New Zealand the danger of allowing the Springboks space to play the Craven-linking pattern. Not that New Zealand was unaware of the Springbok style but it re-affirmed the necessity of keeping the Springboks on the back foot. On the Springbok management side this comprehensive victory left them with the belief that the Craven-linking pattern is the master-pattern; the way to beat the All Blacks. Howe’s sterling performance left the impression that he was the key to unlock the pattern and that earned him a place as flyhalf for the 4th test side. Continue reading
22 August 1956 – Athletic Park, Wellington
Springboks 15 / New Zealand Juniors 22
Noticeably, conversation about the 1956 tour always detour to the match against the New Zealand Universities. Historically, it was the first time a New Zealand University team played against an international touring side but this match is synonymous with the 1956 tour for other reasons. The fact that the Universities team won is also not really the main reason why Kiwi’s still rate this match as the best match of the tour. It was the manner in which the Universities team won that delighted the New Zealand rugby fraternity. All the good football came from the home side. The backs demonstrated opportunism, sensible anticipation and application while the pack totally dominated proceedings. The game is nevertheless mostly remembered as the game of the great Ron Jardon ‘try-that-wasn’t’. A great howl went up in protest when Jardon was called back after a spectacular 65 meter run through almost the entire Springbok team (listen to Winston McCarthy highlights of the match here) and old-timers almost without exception still mention the Jardon try to this day whenever the 1956 tour are under discussion. Continue reading
We’ve all heard it; defence wins rugby matches. Simply, defence forces mistakes and mistakes leads to tries against you. Frankly, my opinion is: ’defence is just another expression of SA rugby’s obsession with safety first’.
Low risk rugby. Continue reading
After the trails for the selection of a Springbok side to tour the United Kingdom in 1931 the general feeling among selectors was that another equally strong Springboks side could easily be selected. That is a second Springbok team of almost equal ability that could potentially challenge if not beat the side that was selected to tour.
A tour was consequently arranged for these unlucky players to Argentina and the team was officially called the Gazelle. This tour took place in 1932 under the management of Paul Roos and the captaincy of Joe Nykamp. The side consisting of uncapped players wore blue shirts emblazoned with springbok head, red stockings and white shorts. They played eight matches; won all of them and scored 269 points with only 24 points scored against them. The two matches against a representative Argentinian side the Gazelles won 42-0 and 34-3 respectively. Gimnasia y Esgrima, a club coached and captained by B.H Heatlie gave the South African Gazelles stern opposition and lost by only 11-5 in the last game of the tour. Heatlie was the man who captained South Africa in their first ever international against a British touring side. Continue reading
If the Brumbies don’t win the S15 this year they will win it within the next two years. My prediction – they are going to do it this year.
White is a perfect match as a coach for Australian rugby -as I’ll explain in a moment- and my second prediction is, therefore, that he’ll be the next Australian national coach.
Jake is a set-piece and defensive structure man which is what Ozzie rugby struggles with due to their Ozzie league influence. Jake’s biggest problem as a Springbok coach was his inability to move beyond set piece and defence. Flair or fast pace phase-after-phase-running-rugby is as natural to Aussie rugby as set piece rugby is to South African rugby. Jake, therefore, doesn’t really need to worry about teaching Aussie players to run with the ball. Credit to him for not trying to coach that out of them. Continue reading
Making my Superbru picks, I thought the Crusaders might be a bit rusty after having had a bye in the previous round.
It panned out to be the case but let’s not take anything away from the Blues. It fascinates me how everything Graham Henry touch turns to gold –relatively speaking. Henry is of course the last coach able to gel this disjointed bunch into a cohesive unit. The Blues was a class above everyone else when they won the Super12 competition in 1996 and 1997 with Henry as coach. Continue reading
Expecting the worse I was reluctant to the point of rather snooze off in front of the TV when the Kings/Force match started at 6h00 this morning in New Zealand.
The first 10 minutes was not encouraging at all with the Kings hardly seeing the ball. On the brink of switching the TV off, the Kings scored -the first try of the match. Intrigued, I started to watch with more interest; what a delight it turned out to be. Continue reading
The Stormers/Bulls rugby match was just another agonising reminder for the thousands of South African rugby supporters that SA rugby is behind the ball game. It was a derby with as much traditional backdrop as one could find in the rugby world. The crowd was as a consequence emotionally charged with much expectation of being entertained with some exiting rugby.
The contrast to the Chiefs/Highlanders match however so stark that even the most ardent SA rugby supporter left the match -or walked away from his television set-with a poignant feeling of dissatisfaction. Continue reading
After my tribute to Jan Ellis I thought I just have to write something about the man who was a big part of Jan’s success as a Springbok rugby player, Piet Greyling.
Currie Cup-winning Transvaal captain in 1971 and 1972, former Springbok flanker Piet Greyling, was arguably one of the best, but certainly one of the toughest.
The picture below shows Piet Greyling with his Transvaal side who got a share of the Currie Cup for the first time in 19 years -having previously won it in 1952- when they shared the cup with Northern Transvaal in an epic final and controversial 14-14 draw at Ellis Park in 1971. The next year Greyling led his Transvaal side to a 25-19 win over Eastern Transvaal at Pam Brink Stadium in Springs to win the cup with the help of Gerald Bosch who dropped the winning points in the final minutes. It was back in 1972, before the Currie Cup final against Eastern Transvaal in Springs that the former Bok captain uttered these famous words to his Transvaal team-mates: “Eighty minutes of agony for an eternity of pleasure.” Continue reading
Jan Ellis personifies Springbok rugby, for me. It has been said that as humans we think in pictures. When we think of something we see a picture of some sorts and this picture can differ from one person to the next which is why we sometimes voice the same words but come up with different understanding or meaning. The best communicators are those who can create clear and vivid pictures in the mind of his listeners.
When I think of Springbok rugby I see Jan Ellis. Hard uncompromising, fast with a touch of artistic moodiness and flair but with relentless motivation to succeed based on a staunch work ethic and absolute conviction of what is right and wrong; that is Jan Ellis in a nutshell, for me. Continue reading