You are browsing the archive for 2012 October.

Demetri Catrakilis update.

October 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

As it turned out AC was correct and Catrakilis still had the option to turn down his “contract” with the Kings even after the CC final.  Catrakilis in the end decided not to accept WPRU new offer (believed to be more than the Kings) and to honor his word and go to the Kings for 2013 and 2014.  

In the end he made the correct decision because at his age (22) he would like to start as 1st choice FH at a S15 franchise. As I said before I just hope that he added an escape clause to his contract if EP fail to maintain SR status.

 

So it seems Demetri Catrakilis is Kings bound in the end. To be honest (as I have stated) this is probably his best option as he will be 1st choice FH for a SR union. I just hope he has an escape clause in his contract that he do not get stuck at the EP Kings if they get booted out of the S15 in 2014.

I do think he will probably have a hard time at the Kings as there chances of having a lot of front foot ball are slim to none. But this might help him grow as a player. My only fear is that his confidence gets dented beyond repair.

As for WPRU (as stated by BayLion on a few occasions) they missed a trick by not playing him as back-up in the S15 this season rather going for Francis. They also missed a trick by not giving him a proper contract offer until after the CC final when as it turned out it was to late to change his mind on the Kings.

As defense for the WP admin they were hell bound on signing Elton for next season and most other signings took a back seat. And with AC doubling as coach and talent scout as well as negotiator there is always the chance that he cannot give every matter enough attention.

This is probably still my biggest concern for WPRU. They do not have a Director of Rugby or the equivalent. To do the contracting and scouting of young players. We are still benefiting from all the hard work Rassie did and this might become a bigger problem in years to come. As admin people go they will probably only try to fix it when it is to late.

I read on twitter that this would be the first time a player that won the CC will play 1st div the next season. Bizarre but with the Kings playing SR but not CC it is to be expected.

Demetri thanks for all the work you have done for WP (and trophies) and hope the best of seasons for you.

Cheers

EOYT squad the good the bad and the ugly.

October 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

Springbok squad:

Backs: 
Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers (captain), Francois Hougaard, Elton Jantjies, Zane Kirchner, Patrick Lambie, Lionel Mapoe, Lwazi Mvovo, Ruan Pienaar, JP Pietersen, Raymond Rhule, Morné Steyn, Jaco Taute, Jano Vermaak

Forwards: 
Willem Alberts, Arno Botha, Schalk Brits, Pat Cilliers, Marcell Coetzee, Eben Etzebeth, Juandré Kruger, CJ van der Linde, Francois Louw, Flip van der Merwe, Franco van der Merwe, Tendai Mtawarira, Jannie du Plessis, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Gurthro Steenkamp, Adriaan Strauss, Duane Vermeulen

The Good:

Raymond Rhule – a youngster with a bright future the boy uses class. Even though the CC hardly compare to test rugby it is nice to see him in the squad.  Esp since Habana isn’t getting any younger.

The Bad:

Selecting seriously out of form players Francious Hougaard and  Morne Steyn they both could do with a rest and starting to focus on next season. The Springboks is hardly a place to built form and HM insistence that he can coach players back to form is worrying.

The Ugly;

This maybe a bit harsh but selecting CJ van der Linde above JC janse van Rensburg (or even Kitshoff) is baffling to say the least. Given that he will hardly get any game time bar injuries. And with next seasons player 23 really removing the necessity for a versatile prop giving younger talent a go would have been better.

Bulls: 8 Sharks: 7 WP: 4 Lions: 6 Cheetahs 2 EU based: 4

This do tell a funny story with the Bulls having the biggest representation yet failing to impress in both the S15 or CC and only escaping a promo/releg match do to a favor by the Lions(who had nothing to gain). I know a lot of WP players are injured but even our second stringers did what the Bulls Boks could not do – Beat Sharks in Durban. Just another proof that HM has not removed his blue tainted specs yet. The constant selection of Morne and Zane really is a puzzle. This while Ludick is a constant performer.

With Flo an injurie concern I would have been tempted to select a back-up fetcher. Derick Minie or Deon Fourie?

Another worry is that Lambie is still being marked as back-up FB to Zane and with HM believing in Taute not sure where Lambie fits in. The semi final between the Sharks and Bulls just showed the gap between the Bulls and the Sharks and their playing styles. HM would be well advised to take of those specs and start seeing what everyone else in SA can see. THE BULLS WERE A SUPER STAR TEAM IN THE LAST DECADE NOT IN 2012.

Anyhow good luck to the Boks hope you make us proud.

cheers

Well done Allistar Coetzee

October 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

I read an article on Keo.co.za by Ryan Vrede where he said “There are some champion teams that require low levels of coaching input because of their vast experience or exceptional talent, or indeed a combination of the two. The Crusaders teams that won the last three of their seven Super Rugby titles is one such example, the Bulls 2009 and 2010 Super Rugby side and Springboks’ 2009 British and Irish Lions series winners and Tri-Nations champions another. But the Western Province unit that trumped a Springbok-laden Sharks side who were, on paper, better equipped in all areas that matter, is not one.”

And I can’t agree more.

But somehow in a weird way the injury crises in the Cape helped AC. He hardly ever had selection problems. Usually selecting the 22 fittest players and then trying to convince them they are the best we have in that position. Not an easy task I know but still somehow lessening the burden to have to decide who should be in the 22 for Saturday.

In 2013 he would probably won’t be “afforded that luxury” with all the new signings in the Cape for the 2013 season and the expected return of some experienced injured players. Coetzee will really have his work cut out for him selecting a match 22 every Sa. Of coarse there might be even more injuries next season and “force” Coetzee’s hand once again. But somehow I doubt it.

For me this is one instance why the Sharks and Plumtree sometimes gets it wrong. Who to select in the starting 15, who on the bench and who to leave out of the 23. (next season) And I am not blaming John it is difficult choices to make and one cannot always get them wright.

If all the Stormers squad is healthy and fit it really would be a daunting task to select 23 players.

15. Taute 14 Aplon, 13 JdJ 12 JdV 11 Habana 10 Jantjies 9 Groom? 8 Vermeulen 7 Burger 6 Kolisi 5 Bekker 4 Etzebeth 3 Pat 2 Fourie 1 Kitshoff

16 Scarra 17 Malherbe 18 Carstens 19 Rhodes 20 Elstedt 21 Scheuder 22 Grant 23 Van den Heever.

But that would mean leaving out of the 23: D’Allende, Brache, Du Plessis, Duvenage, Joe, Catrakillis(?), Liebenberg, Carr, Armand, Brok, Steenkamp,  Jebb(?) ect. to name  a few. Players that would surely make a lot of SR sides in the comp.

Luckily for AC the chances of having no injuries to such a big squad is virtually nil esp with the length on the S15 and the nature of the Stormers defensive game. Still some hard decisions on selecting a first choice 23 next season seems unavoidable. And although the coaches always say it is a nice head ache to have I wonder how nice it really is.

Cheers

PS: for all those people who says the Cape trophy cabinet was a bit empty: Vodacom Cup,  Conference Cup,  o/19 CC and CC prem. Not so empty anymore huh?

Catrakillis to stay in Cape?

October 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

Well firstly well done to AC and co for doing the impossible and beating a Springbok laden Sharks team with a spirited bunch of rookies!! I must admit that although I always hoped for a WP win I struggled to believe it just because of all the injuries to the WP team that forced AC to pick  +5 o/21 players.

Well after the game it was officially “slipped” that Elton Jantjies has finally put pen to paper and will join the Stormers for the 2013 SR tournament. It was an open secret that this would eventually happen although AC was reluctant to say anything until it was a signed deal.

BUT the real interesting thing was that AC said in a post match interview that he was impressed with young Catrakillis and felt that he really grew as a player during the final. He also said that WP still had the importunity to equal or better Catrakillis’s Kings deal and that WP will see whether they could persuade him to stay in the Cape.

Now as a WP/Stormers supporter I would be happy if we can retain Demetri. Especially because Jantjies is only on loan and we still do not know whether he will be available if the Stormers qualify for the play-offs. And because behind Jantjies and Grant there is not much depth in that channel for the Stormers.

BUT as a SA Rugby fan one has to say that Demetri himself would probably be stupid to re-sign with WPRU if this will mean he will only be 2nd/3rd choice FH. If he stays then he would probably start as a bench player and when Grant returns he might well drop down to the Vodacom Cup. Maybe AC sees Grant as a possible 12 option to give Jdv more rest during the season.

IF Catrakillis do go to the Kings he would probably be their 1st choice FH and bar loss of form he would probably get a fair amount of game time. The only negative thing in terms of Demetri himself would be that he might be playing in a losing team and be under a fair amount of pressure during the game.

Of coarse I would love Demetri to stay. One cannot have to much depth in this new SR comp esp at FH where in 2011 we were down to 5 and 6 choice FH’s.

But that is a bit selfish.

If I was Demetri I would probably sign for the Kings for one season and have an exit clause that if they end up falling out of SR for 2014 he would be able to move back to WP or another SR union.

We will wait and see AC is set to do a press conference during the next week or so where he will officially announce all the signings and re-signings of the WPRU for the future.

Cheers

Deon stays in Cape!!

October 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

Well during the S15 it was reported that Deon Fourie was approached by Toulon and offered a substantial amount of money to go to France. At the time it was reported that Deon was very interested in such a move and that WP (like they normally do) would not stand in his way.

One can understand why a player like Deon would seriously consider such an option. Not a guaranteed starter for the Stormers and will probably never make the Springbok side. Thus many a player in his position has opted for the extra money in EU.

But yesterday Deon signed a new deal with the WPRU until at least 2013. AND this make me very happy.

I would say (my opinion) that Deon is maybe behind Brussow and Bismark in the stealing department but he is deff one of the countries top fetchers. (I would say Flo is no 1 at this stage but he is in Eng) His CC season playing exclusively in the no 6 jumper has also done his fetching abilities the world of good. Whether he plays 2 or 6 next season does not matter he will be a force to be recon with in the fetching stakes.

Now I can really say that the Stormers are covered at all bases for next seasons S15. With only scrumhalf a position where they do have depth but no real quality.   Schreuder, Groom and Duvenhage are all pretty equal with no one a real stand out.

But SH apart the Stormers really do have for the first time a very well balanced squad that can play different styles when needed to.

Thanks Deon for turning down some Euro’s to balance out our S15 squad!!!

Cheers

reference : http://afrikaans.news24.com/Sport/Rugby/Koster-pak-tasse-vir-Bath-Fourie-bly-in-die-Kaap-20121025

Kings to embarrass Sa Rugby?

October 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

How the Kings will fare in next year Super Rugby really intrigue  me.

When the Kings got their SR spot most of the Kings supporters and their president Mr Watson all said the same thing: The Kings of the 1st div will be a vastly different team from the one to eventually take part in the S15.

With the end of the season nearing and most players already signing new contracts time is surely running out for the Kings.

They tried to expand their allowed 2 foreign players to 6 but SARU immediately stopped that idea. And if memory serves me correct the Kings already have 2 foreign players signed who was playing for them in the 1st div. So there is no room for expansion.

They have made 3 new signings:

Steven Sykes: A good player and solid lock. Have been injured a lot recently but still a good signing.

Andries Strauss:  Bit of a journeyman but also a good solid player but nothing overly special.

Demetri Catrakillis: A youngster with a very good boot. Still lacks a bit of attacking ability but is still young.

The problem is if any if these three moved to one of the other unions you would probably say they will be very good back-up but not necessarily 1st choice players.

Thing is there has been no other “big name” signing to date. And with time running out one wonders how many signings the Kings can achieve before next season.

One thing is for sure if the Kings try to play Super Rugby with their current squad they will  deff be an embarrassment to Sa Rugby. The Cheetahs smashed them in Bloem and this was by no means a full strength Cheetahs team. (who got smashed by WP the previous week).

I know the Kings were also not without injury and most notably their 3 million rand man was not there. But as I said neither was the Cheetahs and with the long nature of the S15 there will be a lot of injuries next season as well. Deff more than they had in 1st div rugby this season.

By no means I am trying to diss the Kings or blame them for the situation. As previously discussed SARU really messed up with this one.

But still one do not want to see them playing some Nz side in Nz and get thrashed by +100 points that will not be good for SA rugby or the Kings.

I really do hope they somehow get another 10-15 above average players signed before next season.

Cheers

CurrieCup team of the tournament 2012

October 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

Should you include the Boks or not? Well as the CC will be won with the Boks included I will also include them. So maybe this is more a Bok barometer than CC TOTT.

15 Louis Ludik – there is no doubt that he is the form 15 in the country and nobody playing 15 at the moment comes close.

14 JP Pietersen – He is pure class and has shown it everytime he started in the CC.

13 Juan de Jong – difficult one young Jordaan also played some good rugby but has been impaired by the Durban weather. JdJ only played 3 games but was very good in all of them. (maybe I’m bit bias)

12 Tim Whitehead – one of the most underrated players in SA. Really gets his outside backs away and straightens the line well. JdV only played 70 mins but was very good in them. Brache started the season with a bang but sort of faded towards the end.

11 Bryan Habana – Prob bias and he had better form for the Boks. Basson did good for the Bulls but nothing special. Ndungane’s was their usual solid selves, Mvovo turned on the style every now and then. Rocco scored plenty of tries. But Habana for now is still in a class of his own.

10 Pat Lambie – 2 games 2 MOTM awards the boy turned on the style behind a dominant Sharks pack. Jantjies was also pretty good in the beginning but Ackerman resting him against the Bulls robbed him of some necessary game time and he suffered in the semi.

9 Jano Vermaak – another toughy  Reinach also had some great games. But Vermaak turned the Bulls season around (sort of) when he was released from the Boks.

8 Keegan Daniels – Also very underrated. To small for HM liking but he did impress everytime he wore the no8 jersey for the Sharks. Vermeulen also impressed in his few games but Daniels more game time prob edges it. Arno had a few good games but not enough. Whiteley also impressed.

7 Jaco Kriel – a no name but he really excelled every time he had an opportunity. Jean Deysel also impressed. So did Armand. And of coarse Alberts with the few minutes he have had.

6 Deon Fourie – Bias I know but the man knows how to steal some ball and scored a few tries. Jacque Botes also never lets any team down and Coetzee’s work rate on the field is astonishing. But a 6 needs to steel some ball and Fourie was the best at that in the CC.

5 Franco van der Merwe – Anton Bresler also impressed for the Sharks but he is more of a no 4 lock for me the line-out is prob the Sharks worst facet. Juandre struggled in his 2 games and Bekker was injured again.

4 Eben Etzebeth – like Lambie 2 games 2 MOTM awards. He has no equal in SA. Flip had a good game against Nz. But failed to impress in the CC.

3 Jannie du Plessis – the man out shown the Frank bros in the 4N. He is our only hope at TH in SA. Jacobie Adrianse also impressed but  he is not yet in the same class as the Dr. As for Pat and CJ they were mostly on the subs.

2 Callie Visagie – well no one stood out. And the Lions scrum and line-outs dominated. Scarra had his good games but is still learning. Strauss only had one game and the Tahs were trashed.

1 JC janse van Rensburg – Dominated the scrums during the whole CC. He needs to work on his work rate but scrum he can.

Bulls stuck in the previous decade?

October 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

All in all the Bulls had a pretty dreadful ’12 CC season. Only sneaking into the semi’s by beating a second string Lions team that had nothing to gain or to lose. Which also lifted them from bottom of the log.

Then this weekend they were out muscled, out thought, out played, out kicked by a very good Sharks team in dreadful weather.

This made me wonder the Bulls squad is not a bad squad. They have signed a plethora of young talent in recent years and have loads of Springboks in their camp.

They have props that have played for the boks, a bok hooker,  locks that is a bok pairing, lose forwards that has either played or been in boks squad, 2 bok scrumhalves, Bok FH, a bok centre and all their outside backs has played for the boks.  This is hardly an experimental or developing squad. They also do not have an extraordinary amount of injuries.

Thus the only conclusion that I can make is that their style of play is just so out of date that they struggle to win even with the amount of talent that is available to them.

In the wet weather of Durban I thought that their kick and chase game plan might still hold some ground but every time they kicked the ball they just gave Ludick possession and he made them pay.

When Rassie took over at the WP in 2008 he tried to model their game around the then dominant Bulls game plan. And it sort of worked for WP but because WP never had a strong enough front row they came unstuck at finals. Now that the game has moved on the Sharks and Lions game plans seems to be better and even though it took the WP a while even they have started to keep more possession.

The Bulls bought every school boy that could catch and pass the ball (and even a few who can’t)  but this will not help them unless they also realize that the game has changed and so must they.

Yes the Bulls lost a lot of stalwarts at the end of ’11 but it wasn’t like the bulls were on fire in the S15 or CC in ’11. And it isn’t that the Bulls do not have the players or the youngsters to be competitive.

Maybe just a shift in their game plan will work wonders for them?

Take a bow WP coaches!!

October 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

First off I have to congratulate WP on making 3/3 finals in o/19, o/21 and senior competitions. This is quite an achievement and the fact that so many o/21 players are playing for the senior team makes it an even bigger achievement.

Well a lot has been said about how lucky WP was to win against the Lions and how dominant the Lions were on the night.

I agree the Lions dominated large portions of the game especially the scrums. Which is no surprise as the Lions have one of the better tight fives in the CC and well WP’s front row all still qualify to play o/21.

AC and co knew that WP was going to struggle in the front. They have seen how the S15 semi’s went in ’11 and ’12. And new their flanks and Duane would be sucked into the ruck and mauls. But they countered that by giving Aplon and Habana the responsibility to put pressure on Elton and thus take away the time a flyhalf would normally have behind a dominant pack. This worked brilliantly as the Lions backline struggled to dominate like they did in Newlands a few weeks back.

Yes it only just worked and the game was only won after the hooter. But considering the dominance the Lions had in the scrums they should have been out of sight already by the 79 th minute. Instead it was a pretty equal battle for points with both teams messing up clear scoring opportunities and both teams missing kicks at goal.

But what makes this such a good result is that if you take the players absent from the WP squad. Burger, Elstedt, Carr, Bekker, Liebenberg, JdV, Duvenhage, Kolisi with most of them being 1st choice players. A lot has been said about injuries being the reason why the Lions did not preform in S15 and being the reason why the Cheetahs finished last on the CC log. But what impressed me with WP this season was that everytime we got an injury and another player needed to step up they did. This could only mean good things for next seasons S15. Sure they did not win the S15 because they were out muscled by the Sharks but the younsters are sure to learn from that.

As for the Sharks, they had their injury crises in the start of the S15 (prob the reason they were not higher on the log) and now are spoiled for choice. They can even afford to put some Springboks starters on the bench.  They should rightfully be clear favorites to win on Sa and if they do they would deserve it.

BUT as a WP supporter I feel a lot more confident that nobody is giving us a chance in the final. This is when WP are at its best (when they cannot choke). It will be a huge upset if WP can beat the Sharks but WP being underdogs has always been a good thing.

Cheers

Bryce Lawrence retires

October 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

So Mr Bryce Lawrence went from Nz Referee of the year to retiring in less than 12 mnths. 

He says the reason for his retirement is because of the cancellation of his international (IRB) contract and subsequently his SANZAR contract he cannot referee at the top level anymore and he doesn’t see himself getting enough big games to recapture those contracts.

Sneakily enough he now tries to blame that game’s performance on pressure from John O’niel from Aus. Thus taking the focus away from the NZRU. A clever ploy by him and NZRU. ( smoke and mirrors.)

What really happend?

Is this a case of NZRU trying to erase the memory of Mr. Lawrence and hence the manner in which they won the RWC ’11?

Was Mr. Lawrence paid so much money for throwing the game that he now does not need to ref anymore and can afford just a cushy desk job at their high performance center?

Is this SARU putting so much pressure on the IRB and SANZAR that they folded and basically forced Bryce out? (doubt it neither the IRB not SANZAR has ever done anything on support of SARU)

Or is it just punishment going to far because of the magnitude of the game that was officiated?

We will probably never know. Maybe in 10 years time Bryce will write a book called: The day I sold my soul for All Black Gold. 

This whole Lance Armstrong debacle has really got me thinking. For years I said Lance must have used banned substances. And all of my friends and family said that no he was just the best and always pointed out that he never tested positive. And I would always say he is just smarter and sneakier than the rest. As it turned out it was the biggest doping syndicate the world has ever known.

Now with that in mind I have to wonder if my suspicion that the IRB and NZRU did everything in their power to insure a Nz win at the 2011 RWC – including paying off referee’s. Even Joubert in the final was reluctant to penalize Nz in the last 8 mins or so even though they transgressed at every 3rd ruck.

It might just  be paranoia but maybe in 10 years from now the real truth might just come out.

Until then I hope Mr. Lawrence spend the money he got wisely because is doesn’t matter how big you think your fortune is – it might all be gone by tomorrow.

Cheers