robdylan

Sharks missing the magic


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 28 Jul 2008 at 10:58
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Once again, the Sharks managed to almost lose a game that they were expected to win. Something is just not right in that team and urgent steps needs to be taken to rectify the problem.

I’m not really sure how much better our pack can get on paper. We have two Bok props, two Bok locks and a loose trio containing individual pace and skill second to none. Sure, hooker is a weakness, but Badenhorst is pretty good in the tight-loose and is an excellent scrummager. Kanko, Botes and particularly Deysel, were individually pretty awesome on Saturday; yet, we still got pushed off the ball at the breakdown and conceded a ridiculous amount of turnovers. The introduction of Keegan Daniel, who had a pretty flipping good game, actually, seemed to improve matters, which is a little odd, considering how much smaller he is than the man he replaced.

Now, I watched the game with my good friend Dancing Bear and we came to an interesting conclusion about the Sharks’ loose forward play. They have no fetcher and are thus getting stuffed at each and every breakdown battle. No fetcher, you say? But Jacques Botes is one of our best players and wins man of the match two games out of three? Problem is, to my mind anyway, JB is being played out of position and is far more effective as a ball carrier or link man than he is as a ground player. Just look back to his best season ever in Sharks colours, 2006. Botes wore the number 7 jersey the entire season, with Warren Britz (a true fetcher if ever there was one) on the open side.

The problem the Sharks have is that, although Keegan Daniel is a better ground player, he is still not a pure number 6 in the way that Baywatch Grobbelaar is. He is far more suited to the “second-fetcher” role that is becoming the vogue at eighth man under the ELV’s. Jean Deysel’s value cannot be underestimated, though, as he (together with Botes) ensured enough “tightness” in the trio on Saturday to compensate for Daniel’s lack of weight. With Keegan doing the fetching, and Wolla and JB doing the muscling, the Sharks started to gain a little parity at the breakdowns in the second half, which ultimately allowed them to win the game, however fortunately.

The way forward is a bit of a hazy one, though, given that we now have three guys who can play number 8 and none that are ideally suited to 6. Skollie Ndlovu is another that is probably better suited to a ball-carrying role, further exacerbating the problem. Kankowski will doubtless head back to the Boks this week, so given that Deysel is our only credible 7, I think we have little option but to try Daniel at 6, with Botes moving to the back of the scrum. It’s at most a stopgap and one could only wish that a guy like Roland Bernard had decided to come to Durban, rather than France. While we’re at it, who was it that was so fast asleep they allowed Nico Breedt to sign with Free State instead of the Sharks? No prizes for guessing the answer to that one!

And let’s not even get started on the backs…



50 Comments

  • I think I said it after you narrowly won you first game, you will win more games, more comfortably if you sort out the breakdown. Breakdown is where games are won and lost.

    I am even starting to believe and even going against the great Doc in saying you pick your fetcher first under the new ELV’s…

    I am of the impression in the Boks, and with Schalk, that he is not a true fetcher in the sense of the word either.

    Is it therefore so surprising the Wallabies leading the 3N with Smith and Waugh in their fold?

  • Comment 1, posted at 28.07.08 11:07:16 by MorneN Reply
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  • @MorneN (Comment 1) : so what do you think of the call on Botes? Fair, or not so much?

  • Comment 2, posted at 28.07.08 11:12:36 by robdylan Reply
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  • I agree he is a better 7 with a secondary fetching role.

    I have said a while back to you I reckon Botes should pack down at 8 on defensive scrums with Kanko packing at 7 so your 6 and Botes can hunt the ball and ball carriers more effectively.

    One of the things Rassie got right with the Stormers.

  • Comment 3, posted at 28.07.08 11:15:51 by MorneN Reply
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  • @MorneN (Comment 3) : yeah. I am starting to worry about Plum’s tactical acumen, to be honest. He seems to miss some pretty obvious stuff.

    Sharks have been getting nailed at the breakdown all season.

  • Comment 4, posted at 28.07.08 11:24:52 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 4) :

    I am available for about 2 months if you need me ;)

  • Comment 5, posted at 28.07.08 11:27:47 by MorneN Reply
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  • @MorneN (Comment 5) : Plum doesn’t take my calls, dude…

  • Comment 6, posted at 28.07.08 11:34:31 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 6) :

    no suprises there :wink:

  • Comment 7, posted at 28.07.08 11:42:57 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • ok – you guys need to go submit player ratings, please

  • Comment 8, posted at 28.07.08 11:46:06 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 6) : Rob, I feel something is not kosher with Barritt, he came out after the Semi that he was unhappy at the way he had been treated for the Semi, and that things had not been sorted out properly. Since then Barritt goes off for one injury or another, all injuries unrelated to each other, could these injuries not be a smoke screen to something more serious? In my work environment when there is something seriously wrong the first signs always manifest in sick notes. Do you maybe know anything more? ’cause boy do we need him!

  • Comment 9, posted at 28.07.08 11:53:28 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

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  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 9) : I said to DB this weekend, I think we’ll lose Brad soon. Not sure why I have that feeling.

    Looks, injuries to the lower back, groin and hammie are actually related. It all seems to point to some undiagnosed overuse injury that affects the whole region.

    I think he needs a proper break to get it sorted out.

  • Comment 10, posted at 28.07.08 12:03:46 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 10) : That is what is worrying me! Another thing that is really worrying me, is after the game, I waited with the boys for the players, and Ruan was having a serious chat with Loffie I seriously hope he is not planning a move! I met the Lions on Saturday what a bunch of decent guys, and I laugh at us supporters insulting each other while the players were chatting together and quite friendly with each other :grin:

  • Comment 11, posted at 28.07.08 12:40:55 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

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  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 11) : We are actually quite friendly to decent supporters as well. :twisted:

    Have to say I’m worried about Brad…he shouldn’t be getting consecutive injuries at his age. It might affect him mentally…

  • Comment 12, posted at 28.07.08 13:26:41 by blackshark Reply

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  • @MorneN (Comment 3) : Smith and Waugh, lineouts aside are the ultimate all-round loosies… there is nothing they cannot do… and happen to have an excellent ground game… as does Elsom… about time all our loosies should be able to do everything…

  • Comment 13, posted at 28.07.08 13:34:10 by bryce_in_oz Reply

    bryce_in_ozCurrie Cup player
     
  • @bryce_in_oz (Comment 13) : you guys see Keegan taking lineout ball?

  • Comment 14, posted at 28.07.08 14:32:50 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 14) :

    Nope we only get CC games on Friday…

    Good story from here in Aus shaking the contractual world up… Toulon at it again… not too mention greedy league players…

    http://www.foxsports.com.au/story/0,8659,24091420-23214,00.html

  • Comment 15, posted at 28.07.08 15:28:39 by bryce_in_oz Reply

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  • @bryce_in_oz (Comment 15) : Is that the story about billy bob or sonny boy or whatever?

  • Comment 16, posted at 28.07.08 16:33:24 by robdylan Reply
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  • As I mentioned to Rob this weekend, Botes is amazing playing to the ball, the problem is he does not play to the ground at all. He is always the first player to the breakdown with the Sharks, but does not seem to ever turn the ball over. To be quite honest, our best fetchers on Saturday were Odwa and Strauss, they both put their bodies on the line and were successful turning the ball over. Botes seems to have the perfect build for a fetcher, but does not play to the ground. He is certainly strong enough in the upper body, but perhaps is not as willing to take the big clean out hit. I like the idea of Botes at 8, so the pressure is not on him to play to the ground, but he can still be early to the breakdowns in a support role.

    I agree with Morne that Schalk is not a true fetcher, but he does play to the ground much more than Botes, so even though he is not natural on the ground like a George Smith, Waugh, etc, he is willing to put his body on the line. Quite honestly the only true fetchers in my opinion in SA are Baywatch and Scholtz. We are quite weak in this area. Watson has the ability to be a fetcher, but he seems more interested in carrying the ball than working on the ground.

  • Comment 17, posted at 28.07.08 17:00:12 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 17) : carrying the watermelons ;)

  • Comment 18, posted at 28.07.08 17:03:47 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 16) :

    Yep… you can see why Toulon want this youngster at all costs… got the entire league and other Aus codes in uproar contract wise… could qualify for both the Wallabies and AB’s too (if he learns to use his arms)…

  • Comment 19, posted at 28.07.08 18:06:43 by bryce_in_oz Reply

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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 17) :
    Botes isnt strong enough in the upper body to be a fetcher. He is an openside though – fetcher and openside aren’t quite the same thing.

    For my money, the Sharks might have missed a trick in converting Burden to hooker instead of fetcher.

  • Comment 20, posted at 28.07.08 19:23:07 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 20) : I don’t think they realise they don’t have one

  • Comment 21, posted at 28.07.08 20:03:23 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 21) :
    Think about it Rob – the guys has some pace, is a stocky, very powerful guy with great upper-body strength, and doesnt lack in heart.

    He would rock at openside, instead of playing behind Smit and Bismark at hooker.

  • Comment 22, posted at 28.07.08 20:10:14 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 22) : I’ll tell him that next week. Already given him enough to think about this week

  • Comment 23, posted at 28.07.08 20:44:58 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 23) :
    :lol:

  • Comment 24, posted at 28.07.08 21:17:00 by Big Fish Reply
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  • What is it with the teams I support. Boks & Sharks neither seems capable in selecting a good fetcher. Surely after the Ab’s have shown us since 1990 (when we got back in the international mold)that we need a fetcher. The last good one SA had was probably Rob Louw as tough as nails and a huge heart. Kiwi and Ausie comentary teams are going to end Burgers career ( I heard one say “This guy goes out to Hurt not just tackle”) now you only need a few over zelous refs to jump on the band wagon and thats him gone. A few years ago all we heard about was the Shark Academy now nothing. Have they unearthed any young talent recently as it would appear that after Frans Steyn the cupboard is bare. Or am I being over critical from affar. I know I praised Plumtree at the beginning, but whats up, we won ugly in the Super14 and it was wait we can do better and now its the Curry Cup and its wait we can do better. Well how long are we supposed to wait for.

  • Comment 25, posted at 29.07.08 02:29:43 by Dynamite Reply

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  • @Dynamite (Comment 25) : we had a proper fetcher that came out of the Academy. His name was Conrad Stoltz. He seems to have completely disappeared, though.

  • Comment 26, posted at 29.07.08 07:12:47 by robdylan Reply
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  • And lack the quality players!??!

  • Comment 27, posted at 29.07.08 09:57:05 by Hmmm Reply

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  • Seriously though…I don’t agree with you on your assessment…

    Yes we all know Kanko is not great at rucks…we said so before and after the Aussie test…(Spies guilty of that too…thus for REAL test matches they are 2nd and 3rd choice 8th-men)…
    But the problem is not just your loose forwards…
    You tight 5 (especially your locks) are not tight enough…
    I said so before the game that you have 3 No 5 locks (someone still mocked me when I said so)…but after the weekend I believe so even more…non of those locks can clear the rucks like a Bakkies/Danie/Mostert etc…

    The your loose forwards…I am sorry but when you had tougher and stronger tight 5 (Smit/Ackers/etc) you could get away with Botes at 7…
    Now you NEED a strong man at 7 and Botes is not it…
    When you have lighter and less enforcing locks you need a stronger more enforcing backrow…balance is more important than player…

    I think Tendai made the bigger difference to your tackle ball situation that Keegan did…

    All your tight 5 does well is scrum….what else do they do well!??!
    Carstens looked good with ball in hand but effective is he at clearing…BJ looks good when scrumming but what else is he effective in…Jannie looks…well what is he effective in…

  • Comment 28, posted at 29.07.08 10:06:22 by Hmmm Reply

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  • Ndlovu is only more effective as a 7 cozz he is nowhere at the tackled ball situation…not cozz he is a good 7….

  • Comment 29, posted at 29.07.08 10:07:05 by Hmmm Reply

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  • Could it be the coaching?

  • Comment 30, posted at 29.07.08 10:11:21 by Predawn Reply

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  • @Hmmm (Comment 28) :

    And further…
    You guys were pushed off your ball and it was poached by Baywatch…
    So your major problem was clearing and securing your ball on attack…not not being able to turn the LIONS possession over…
    (well they knocked it on before you could tackle and contest…LoL)…

  • Comment 31, posted at 29.07.08 10:16:02 by Hmmm Reply

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  • Still it was a game perfectly fitting a club side and not a provincial side.

  • Comment 32, posted at 29.07.08 10:22:08 by Predawn Reply

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  • Rob you starting to sound like a Province fan when Kobus was coach….

  • Comment 33, posted at 29.07.08 10:39:11 by Sauce Reply
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  • @Predawn (Comment 32) :

    Yeh it was a crappy game…and then Baywatch says in the post-match interview both teams played badly!??! :roll:

  • Comment 34, posted at 29.07.08 10:39:37 by Hmmm Reply

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  • @Predawn (Comment 32) :

    Yeh it was a crappy game…and then Baywatch says in the post-match interview both teams played well!??! :roll:

  • Comment 35, posted at 29.07.08 10:40:00 by Hmmm Reply

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  • @Hmmm (Comment 34) :

    LoL ignore this comment!??! LoL Was thinking they played badly when I was typing what Baywatch said…LoL

  • Comment 36, posted at 29.07.08 10:41:02 by Hmmm Reply

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  • Hmmmm – don’t you perhaps think your ridiculous Lions bias somewhat negates what you have to say?

  • Comment 37, posted at 29.07.08 10:48:29 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Sauce (Comment 33) : Am I that bad? ;)

  • Comment 38, posted at 29.07.08 10:49:00 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 37) :

    Maybed a lil….

  • Comment 39, posted at 29.07.08 10:59:03 by Hmmm Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 37) :

    No but seriously…I did not say anything that flatters the LIONS…they do not deserve any praise…
    No use turning over more ball than you can calculate on a calculator when you knock it on after a few passes…

    Anyways…I was talking about your article and my opinion on the Sharks forwards…which is not affected by the fact that I am a LION….

    I believe your problem is at 1/2/3/4….(now that Deysel is back else I would have added 7)…
    No problem in playing 2 fetchers in the loose forwards…Botes stole enough ball last year when he played 6…I just don’t think the Sharks have the players to balance out the teams requirements…or that complement each other…

  • Comment 40, posted at 29.07.08 11:05:30 by Hmmm Reply

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  • @Sauce (Comment 33) :

    :lol:

  • Comment 41, posted at 29.07.08 11:35:30 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @Hmmm (Comment 35) : What could he do, come out and say boy were the Sharks crap! and we still lost?! cut the guy some slack, he was being gracious :???:

  • Comment 42, posted at 29.07.08 12:10:20 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 41) : I was having a chat with a guy from within the set up but not Sharks, on Saturday after the game, and there is definitely something wrong in Sharks camp, could we not do what the Bulls did, and write a letter to SHarks management and get it signed by as many fans as possible and give to them, maybe if we threaten their bottom line they may start solving what is amiss!

  • Comment 43, posted at 29.07.08 12:15:50 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

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  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 43) :

    Don’t take this the wrong way, take it as a general reply.

    I am not a great fan of such action at all. There is always a group of “concerned supporters” who have a grip with something that is happening within a rugby union and if on the odd occasion such letters/petitions are written they don’t resolve anything other than cause ill feelings.

    Look at the Bulls as only ONE example. They had that petition going to get rid of their management and Frans Ludeke. Did ANY of it happen? no.

    I console myself in the fact that we KNOW from experience that “they” (“they” being people higher up the tree at the various unions) read the rugby blogs and know what the feelking are and what is being said.

    The best way to get through to them IMO is to blog your feelings without launching personal attacks on anyone and i am sure it will be read.

    And if you feel that is not strong or definite enough then write an article on how you feel or what you feel should happen and i am sure we will obligingly publish it for you, but As i said i am not a fan of the petition route.

  • Comment 44, posted at 29.07.08 12:38:24 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 44) : I understand your feelings, and by no means do I get offended by positive criticism so I take your post in the way it was intended. The only thing is that the players really look demotivated they kick the ball and don’t even bother to chase it, they look like they are only going through the motions. The Tank is getting emptier with every match, I just don’t whant to happen to us what has happened to the LIons where they have to rely on selling name rights etc to afford players and fail to fill Ellis parck etc (Although Ellis parck has different challenges being in the position it is).

  • Comment 45, posted at 29.07.08 12:51:45 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

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  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 43) : Ambravich the FA cup, league or European Cup? The answer is clearly no! The Sharks do have a big cheque book but lack quality coaches (the Jury is out with Plum) but clearly Bashford does not have the skill or credentials. One only has look back in the past when Hugh Reece Edwards took over from Mac it was a disaster, Kevin Putt too was an abysmal failure.
    Andy Keast who is tried and tested is coaching Bluff Harlequins, David Campese is involved with school boys, Jake White is like a Jew out of work…. The Sharks brains trust and Adolf Strauli need to become proactive. Enough said?

  • Comment 46, posted at 29.07.08 13:12:43 by Ragged Reply

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  • @Ragged (Comment 46) : For what it is worth IMO the problem with the Sharks is that as a Brand it has become more successful than the team. The Sharks are blessed with supporters who come out in droves to support the team, historically Natal were never a powerhouse in SA Rugby now in the modern era they are.
    Although the franchise is successful there is a gap between the teams achieving goals( silverware) and bank statements.
    Look at English football would Chelsea have sacked Avrim Grant if he had delivered Ambravich the FA cup, league or European Cup? The answer is clearly no! The Sharks do have a big cheque book but lack quality coaches (the Jury is out with Plum) but clearly Bashford does not have the skill or credentials. One only has look back in the past when Hugh Reece Edwards took over from Mac it was a disaster, Kevin Putt too was an abysmal failure.
    Andy Keast who is tried and tested is coaching Bluff Harlequins, David Campese is involved with school boys, Jake White is like a Jew out of work… The Sharks brains trust and Adolf Strauli need to become proactive. Enough said?

  • Comment 47, posted at 29.07.08 13:13:48 by Ragged Reply

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  • @Ragged (Comment 47) : Exactly what I was trying to say the Sharks management needs to become proactive before they start having to react to disaster. At this point I don’t even care about the Silverware anymore as long as the players look like they whant to play rugby! Look at the Lions, they won what two games in S14 but every game you could see that they were there wanting to play/win something the Sharks at the moment look like they would rather be somewhere else!

  • Comment 48, posted at 29.07.08 13:28:04 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

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  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 42) :

    How about “It was a tight game that got messy at times and the Sharks used there opportunities and we did not…that was the difference in the two sides”

  • Comment 49, posted at 29.07.08 16:39:43 by Hmmm Reply

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  • Their is big rumbles in the Shark camp :twisted: Plumtree and Bashford must hit the road and very fast.They have taken over were putt left off.The sharks at the moment are going nowhere very fast.I don’t like to say it but I think they will loose this weekend.I am going to give the game a miss(first time ever)and go and watch some good club rugby. :evil:

  • Comment 50, posted at 29.07.08 18:12:35 by pete69 Reply

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