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South Africa and The Springbok rugby Season has sadly, but on a happy note, come to an end. The 2012 End of Year Tour provided and New Coach and a young Bok side the opportunity to gain valuable experience playing in Northern Hemisphere conditions. The tour also gave certain players the opportunity to prove that they belong on the international stage (Juan De Jong, Pat Cilliers and Adriaan Strauss). As the dust settles, one can already see the 2013 season on the horizon.
Preparations are well under way for the 2013 Season. However it’s the International Season that will interesting. Heyneke Meyer has cast his net far and wide to select the best possible players going forward.
Inured Players: With 11 injured players on the injured list, boasting over 400 caps, Meyer is surly going to give a recall to a few of these players.
Young Guns: The list of young talent (which did not make the tour) knocking on the door cannot be ignored. Kolisi, Serfontein, Jordaan, du Toit and Kitshoff all come to mind and a good 2013 Super 15 season could well see them join the Bok squad.
Current Squad: The Current Squad has had a tough 2012 and looking at the results one will see they only lost to Australia (Away) and to New Zealand. This squad has also achieved what many other sides failed to do. Remain unbeaten on the End Year Tour. These players will not be wanting to give up their spots in the Bok side and will surly up their standards in the next season.
At this point one must remind oneself that not every player can play for the Bok side. There will be some really good players who will miss out on selection.
The New Zealand Challenge: With a list of 50 possible players identified to take Bok rugby forward, South Africa will be able to challenged the Kiwis with depth and experience come the international season. In 2013 Meyer will be able to work a squad system through the incoming tours, thus keeping players fresh while blooding youngsters with the experienced players. Player management will be key as we head towards the 2nd Rugby Championship as Meyer will be aiming to have the best 30 players available.
The challenge of taking on NZ will also involve a little luck. The dreaded injury curse that South Africa experienced this year will need to be dodged. Freak injuries cannot be avoided but injuries due to poor player management player burn out can be avoided.
As the dust settles, the horizon looks bright and sunny for Bok Rugby.
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This past weekend RuggerBuggers was involved in a rugby game, where after a slick move and on our way to scoring an important try, the ref called one of our passes forward. Later in the game he allowed our opponents to score from a forward pass. On Saturday night the Sharks scored from a clear forward pass. The ref at the time had a good reason to believe it was forward. He called in the TMO to assist with the decision, and the the call was made that it was not forward.
These 2 incidents (LAW 12) got me thinking. Do I know the “Laws Of The Game”? We the fan, debate the laws every weekend around a braai, with most of the debates ending in “we agree to disagree”. At club level we get aspiring referees. They are put under pressure by the local intoxicated crowd who very likely do not know the “Laws Of The Game” or how to apply them.
Please head to ruggerbuggers.co.za to and join us as we learn the“Laws Of The Game”.
As the dust settles on the 2012 Super XV, South Africans and specifically Western Province and her supporters turn their attention to the CURRIE CUP.
Why WP? It has been 20 years since “arguably” the most successful union had their hands on the cherished trophy. Alistair Coetzee has already stated that WP has put the Super XV behind them and they are looking ahead to the Currie Cup (http://www.sport24.co.za/Rugby/Coetzee-Super-15-forgotten-20120806) with an eye on the 2013 Super XV (http://www.sport24.co.za/Rugby/Coetzee-WP-building-for-S15-20120807).
For starters, we are reminded about their rich talent. So rich that other unions snap up un-contracted players. The WP side has lost 6 players to the Springboks and Peter Grant is off to Japan. There are also a number of injured players on the comeback which will strengthen the side.
For the past 10 years the WP fan has seen their side struggle to make finals and claim a major trophy. Year after year, the WP fan is told about how well prepared the men from the cape are. Yet they have only managed 2 finals in 10 years and lost both. The WP fan will without doubt tell you that they (WP) will win the Currie Cup Well, for the last 10 years this has been the case. (As this is being written WP have already been tipped as favourites at 2/1 favourites). The WP fan is loyal to the end.
The obsession to reclaim the trophy increases with every failed tournament. WP fans have started to turn to the history books to see how great their side once was.
The fact that WP fans state that Super XV Conference Cup is worth something is evidence that the pain of not winning a major trophy in the last 10 years bothers them. The failure to qualify for the Super XV 15 final was evident on all the players’ faces. The need to win Currie Cup title is weighing heavily the Western Cape side. There are some great players that have won Tri Nations Titles and a World Cup Title.
There is no doubt that the WP side has the ability to top a log but its winning the crucial one off games where they struggle. WP/Stormers playoff statistics for the last 5 tournaments read as follows played 6 won 2 lost 4 (with no title). Yet every year WP fans believe they are the favorites.
The Currie Cup has been cut from 8 to 6 sides. Strength versus Strength. This is only going to make winning the title even harder. One loss, and a side will be on the back foot from week 1.
WP has the players, they have infrastructure and they have the loyal fans so why have they not won world’s oldest domestic rugby competition in 20 years? Winning a Currie cup seems to be as difficult as winning the World Cup.
Winners Since 2000
2000 Western Province 25 – 15 Natal Sharks ABSA Stadium
2001 Western Province 29 – 24 Natal Sharks Newlands
2002 Blue Bulls 31 – 7 Golden Lions Ellis Park
2003 Blue Bulls 40 – 19 Natal Sharks Loftus Versfeld
2004 Blue Bulls 42 – 33 Cheetahs Loftus Versfeld
2005 Cheetahs 29 – 25 Blue Bulls Loftus Versfeld
2006 Cheetahs 28 – 28 Blue Bulls Free State Stadium
2007 Cheetahs 20 – 18 Golden Lions Free State Stadium
2008 Natal Sharks 14 – 9 Blue Bulls ABSA Stadium
2009 Blue Bulls 36 – 24 Cheetahs Loftus Versfeld
2010 Natal Sharks 30 – 10 Western Province ABSA Stadium
2011 Golden Lions 42 – 16 Natal Sharks Coca Cola Park
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