VinChainSaw

World chumps fluff it again


Written by Jonathan Burt (VinChainSaw)

Posted in :Original Content, Springboks on 24 Aug 2008 at 00:58

In 160 minutes of rugby the Springboks have managed to retain possession for more than five phases only three times. Three times. Three bloody times. Not even an average of once a half over the course of the last two games.

And there-in lies the problem. Because unlike junior rugby you actually need to construct tries in international rugby. You cannot simply rely on luck of the bounce or individual brilliance to win games because every side has brilliant players capable of turning games. You need to have a plan and an idea of how you’re going to manoeuvre yourself into the right position to score points. If you can’t even keep hold of the ball for more than a few phases how on earth do you expect to do that?

And that is why I am absolutely convinced that Peter de Villiers’ game-plan of “play what’s in front of you” is simply a lazy approach to take. It’s an excuse to do no planning and an easy way to place the blame on the players when they don’t succeed in playing this situation and thereby deflect attention away from your own inadequacies as strategist.

Now don’t get me wrong, I really want(ed) Peter to succeed. As a country we desperately needed him to succeed. But the reality of the situation is that he has his head stuck in the sand. Deep in the sand.

It’s one thing to want to take a winning formula and tweak and build on it but it’s an entirely different story chucking everything out the window that brought us so much success in the past.

Now let’s put this in perspective. In South Africa from a very young age we play a very physical and robust game. That’s the way we grow up playing the game. We don’t throw the ball around, it just doesn’t happen. In the Currie Cup and the Super14 comps we also don’t follow that approach, with the possible exception of Western Province. Even them, to be honest, are still very conservative compared to some of the antipodean sides. And it’s not as if this magical expansive rugby that Western Province plays has brought them much joy in the last few seasons. On the contrary they’re pretty far down the pecking order in both Currie Cup and when playing in the guise of the Stormers. The trophy cabinet has been bare for many a season down at Newlands.

So now you take these players who’ve been playing a conservative game-plan their entire lives and then expect them to suddenly turn on the charm and run everything when they play for the Boks like 7 or 8 times a year? That’s madness. This, of course, between the games they go and play for their provinces where they revert to type for more than half the season.

This thinking and game-plan is flawed. Not only is it flawed in South Africa where we simply don’t have the players to play the game but it’s flawed everywhere. No side has used the “play what’s in front of you” game-plan to any success. And before you throw Australia in my face, that’s a fallacy. Yes they run the ball more than most but don’t for one second think there isn’t a very shrewd and well thought-out game-plan floating around in the background.

Our boys are under-prepared and the place you see it most is at the breakdown. Where under White the Bok pack covered the breakdown like a blanket it’s now become a case of having one or two guys hitting the ruck and then getting cleaned out when the opposition hit the ruck in numbers. We’ve lost so much turnover ball simply because the pack isn’t disciplined enough and don’t hit the rucks together like they used to. And that’s all down to coaching. It can be because of no other reason if we were getting it right this time last year with almost the exact same pool of players. If you can’t get that right, one of the basics of the game, then you’re in a world of trouble.

Doubtless the De Villiers/Muir relentless PR machine will kick into action later this week and everybody from the Pope to Robert Mugabe will be blamed for this diabolical shambles we find ourselves in.

Three losses on the trot and a single win in the TriNations to date. That is shocking for a side that wants to call themselves World Champions. Even worse is that we didn’t even have a sniff in some of those games.

But I’ve left the best for last. Take a step back for a second and consider this for a minute. Peter de Villiers took over essentially the same side that won the World Cup. He lost one or two players, in comparison to Oz and NZ who lost a boatload more, and he also inherited a carefully thought-out approach honed over four years. A World Cup winning game-plan. In the space of 6 games he’s thrown it all out the window. A match-winning formula based on the attributes South African players excel at best

Even worse, he’s thrown away a winning culture and an aura built around winning the greatest competition in the world. And this at a time when Australia and new Zealand were on their knees. We’ve just gone and given them all the confidence in the world when we should’ve been crushing them into submission with their young sides.

Let’s not forget, we’ve seen this before. Ten years ago a certain Carel du Plessis took over the Bok coaching reigns. Similar to de Villiers, du Plessis also didn’t have the credentials for the job and similarly he also believed South African players could somehow run the rest of the world to pieces.

We all know how that ended in tears. And I fear we’re seeing it again.



55 Comments

  • I’m more than a little disappointed.

    I’m not even seeing an inkling of progress in achieveing this mythical running rugby approach.

  • Comment 1, posted at 24.08.08 01:00:48 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • Fiji.
    The boks are trying to play more like Fiji.
    If they get it right they’ll receive big applause next time they exit the WC during the quarter finals.

  • Comment 2, posted at 24.08.08 03:44:44 by fyndraai Reply
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  • @fyndraai (Comment 2) : ice cold :-)

  • Comment 3, posted at 24.08.08 08:24:07 by robdylan Reply
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  • The thing that pisses me off the most – It’s happening again. Du Plessis, Viljoen, Straueli…

  • Comment 4, posted at 24.08.08 09:52:51 by McLovin Reply

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  • Mallet, White & even Heineken Mayor. Why are they not unvolved? Not neccessarily with the Boks, but anywhere in SARU. Guys like Muir & Rassie could certainly do with these guys input & experience.

  • Comment 5, posted at 24.08.08 09:56:03 by McLovin Reply

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  • That first paragraph is a shocking stat. :shock:

  • Comment 6, posted at 24.08.08 10:40:17 by McLovin Reply

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  • @fyndraai (Comment 2) : lol…

  • Comment 7, posted at 24.08.08 11:27:20 by klempie Reply

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  • My take on it also, is that PDV is trying to outdo Aus and NZ in the running rugby stakes. The fact that we’re committing so few to the breakdown is the consequence of just one thing…requiring more bodies feeding the ball down the line. Stupid.

  • Comment 8, posted at 24.08.08 11:30:17 by klempie Reply

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  • I agree with everything Vin has said here. The style he is trying get is just not commensurate with SA rugby culture. And I do not feel that traditional SA rugby doesn’t work under the new laws. JW had the perfect blend of forward domination and speed out wide. I still believe that with a few tweaks JW’s progress would work well. Yes, JW sped up the way we played and yes, it took him four years to get it right, BUT he didn’t throw everything out when he started and built his team around a core of players he himself had nurtured at junior level. And let’s not forget, he won a Tri-nations on his first outing….

  • Comment 9, posted at 24.08.08 11:36:52 by klempie Reply

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  • I think what is really pissing guys off is the way Peter popped onto the international scene with virtually no relevant experience and then proceeded to big himself up, express opinions and criticise all and sundry and then not actually deliver.

    Dunedin was such a fluke it wasn’t even funny.

  • Comment 10, posted at 24.08.08 12:58:49 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 10) : Exactly. Expecially given the fact that 72% of them wanted Heyneke. I personally think that it’s going to be a longer ride than we all think. Without the players’ buy-in, how is anything going to be resolved?

  • Comment 11, posted at 24.08.08 13:05:14 by klempie Reply

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  • @klempie (Comment 11) :

    De Villiers isn’t going anywhere I’m afraid.

    If the pressure on him increases he’ll just increase the quotas to appease the politicians. It’s not like the results can get much worse.
    And with the politicos on his side he’ll never get the boot.

    We’re stuck with him – we have to make this work.

  • Comment 12, posted at 24.08.08 13:18:59 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 12) : that was a very borderline comment, Vin…

  • Comment 13, posted at 24.08.08 14:40:17 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 13) : HAHAHAHAHAHA….when will you realise that politics and sport go hand in hand? It’s like custard and jelly.. :lol:

  • Comment 14, posted at 24.08.08 14:48:15 by klempie Reply

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  • @klempie (Comment 14) : Wait…custard and jelly is a bad example…I like both.

  • Comment 15, posted at 24.08.08 14:49:26 by klempie Reply

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  • @klempie (Comment 15) : Rob is taking very deep breaths…

  • Comment 16, posted at 24.08.08 14:58:07 by robdylan Reply
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  • Klempie, the character and ideals of this site are not going to change overnight simply because the Boks lost another test match. That you can take as a given.

  • Comment 17, posted at 24.08.08 15:02:00 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 17) : :lol: Just winding you up my man, just winding you up… :mrgreen:

    * puts RD on the floor and watches him whizz around at a frenetic pace.

  • Comment 18, posted at 24.08.08 15:15:06 by klempie Reply

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  • @klempie (Comment 18) : Tee hee. You sod! :-)

  • Comment 19, posted at 24.08.08 15:56:40 by robdylan Reply
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  • Hey Rob. I’m over from Thurs to Mon next week. Is there a Sharks group that gets together?

  • Comment 20, posted at 24.08.08 16:05:40 by klempie Reply

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  • @klempie (Comment 20) : Where will you be?

  • Comment 21, posted at 24.08.08 16:36:52 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 21) : The schedule is not agreed yet but I will be working in Chelmsford for a day I reckon and also Leicestershire for a day. I am also needed in Middlesex at some point I should think. I see now that the Kav game is kicking off at 3pm Pomland time on a Friday anyway though, so that looks like a bust. :sad:

  • Comment 22, posted at 24.08.08 16:43:27 by klempie Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 13) :

    Lol. Yeah I know. Had to reword it a few times.

    But that’s the fact buddy and I was just demonstrating how futile it is to call for his head becasue he’s here to stay.

    Better to work through the problems than just call for his head…

  • Comment 23, posted at 24.08.08 17:00:16 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 12) :
    Vinnie, I agree with a lot of things you say, but I think that you are going the Reitzworld route if you accuse PDV of increasing quotas to stay in his position.

    There can be no doubt that he has made plenty of selection and even tactical mistakes, but to my view, he has not chosen a single “quota”, unless you mean WC stars who are there purely on reputation.

    Your statement is grossly unfair to players that PDV had brought in, like Beast and Adi, as well as the man himself, who may be not up to standard, but has yet to show the lack of integrity that you are implying.

    This is my bugbear with so many critics of the present Boks – lets look at the actual problems, not just criticise willy-nilly.

    Look closely, and you will note that the SA gameplan is not drastically different from the previous one – the selections and preperation of the players is clearly the biggest difference so far.

    That said, PDV is partly to blame for this perception, as he mouths off about this new vision of his all the time, as if it is revolutionary stuff – it isn’t.

  • Comment 24, posted at 24.08.08 17:09:40 by Big Fish Reply
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  • Vin, I think Fish just said what I wanted to :-)

  • Comment 25, posted at 24.08.08 17:12:23 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 24) :
    @robdylan (Comment 25) :

    Chum, I’m not getting into this conversation with you except to say I never said any of the current bunch are quotas players – I said that could be a route he could go down to save his job if the pressure increased and it looked like he was goign to lose his job.

    Fact si the likes of Stofile would never allow him to be replaced if he went down that route – de Villiers’ job is as safe as houses unless he pisses off the politicos.

    If thats the way you read it then please accept my apologies for that is not how it was intended.

    And there is one quota in the side but he’s not even black.

    The rest of your comment relates to your inferences, not mine.

    But thats the last word I’ll say on the subject.

  • Comment 26, posted at 24.08.08 17:14:41 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 25) :

    Then ‘ll amend my comment to address both of you! :cool:

  • Comment 27, posted at 24.08.08 17:15:19 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 24) : BF how can you say that man? The new approach is about throwing it around and being smart arses. Like I said previously, JW had the better blend of ball-carrying and passing. There was eff-all reason to change it other than for egotistical reasons…to say “This is MY brand.”

  • Comment 28, posted at 24.08.08 17:25:54 by klempie Reply

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  • PDV needs to start eating some humble pie.

  • Comment 29, posted at 24.08.08 17:26:42 by klempie Reply

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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 26) :
    Vinnie, we know each other well enough to take this offline if it really is a burning issue. That said, I like to think that the guy I know would not make the kind of generalisations and statements I am referring to.

    For the above reason, I consider this issue closed, but in light of your rebuttal above, particularly your first paragraph, I would relook at your following statement (particularly the use the word “will” as opposed to “might” or “could”, bearing in mind that I am not asking for a reply this this post:
    “If the pressure on him increases he’ll just increase the quotas to appease the politicians.”

  • Comment 30, posted at 24.08.08 17:27:26 by Big Fish Reply
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  • BigFish,

    On the subject of approach – you’re smoking your socks man.

    If Jake White did anything it was play ultra-conservative rugby based around rigid structures and faultless fixed play. Everything was scripted. Absolutely everything – it was one of the things we criticised him for.

    If you think the current approach is similar to that then i respectfully submit to you, my learned friend, that you don’t know your arse from your elbow.

  • Comment 31, posted at 24.08.08 17:28:59 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 30) :

    Fair enough. Consider the sentence changed as this reflects my thinking.

    I repeat – I did not say anybody didnt deserve to be in the side. Except Watson.

  • Comment 32, posted at 24.08.08 17:30:05 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • Please also accept my apolgoies for any offence, however untientional, it may have caused.

  • Comment 33, posted at 24.08.08 17:31:13 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • Anyway off for a run – we’ll doubtlessly debate and criticise ad nauseum in the week ahead.

    I really hope PdV has a plan.

    On a related matter – seems the Bok coahcing PR machine has already started witht he excuses.

  • Comment 34, posted at 24.08.08 17:32:38 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 31) : I must disagree with you slightly there Vin. That may have been characteristic of his first couple of years but at the end the Boks’ gameplan was the structure you’re speaking of in the first period of the game (however long that took), and opening up the throttle ONCE possession and territorial advantage had been secure. Their strategy involved getting into a rhythm first rather than screaming in from the first minute. Now that all looked impressive against Wales and Argentina (I myself was wooed), but once you come up against a fast and aggressive defence like the Wallabies and ABs, you’re gonna come a cropper.

  • Comment 35, posted at 24.08.08 17:34:50 by klempie Reply

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  • That’s also fair klempie.

    But there is no chance you’d see players takign quick throw-ins on their own line and trying to run it out from there under the white regime.
    Not even when the game wa sin the bag.

    If there was one thing that Jake did well it was prepare. Sometime over-prepare to the point that the side couldn’t adapt when things went wrong.

    But it did mena the breakdown and line-outs were secure and they could close down a game if need be.

    Playing the de Villiers approach looks like a lottery. Poker player’s goign all in from the first hand and just hoping for the right cards.

  • Comment 36, posted at 24.08.08 17:44:04 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 36) : Exactly, lottery. A great description. With regards to quick throw-ins, however, you’re forgetting our boy Frans. ;)

  • Comment 37, posted at 24.08.08 17:49:15 by klempie Reply

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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 34) : You running the Nike 10k next Sunday?

  • Comment 38, posted at 24.08.08 18:45:11 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 38) :

    Nah I wanted to but I’m off to Israel on Friday evening.

    Got a few runs planned that are local to me over the next few months.
    The last one being a marathon in December so I’m getting stuck into the training. It’s hard going but I’m getting the miles in – just did a 10 miler this afternoon.
    Losing wieght at a rate of knots too which can only be a good thing.

  • Comment 39, posted at 24.08.08 19:59:54 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 39) : 10 miles? Fantastic! What sort of time do you do that in? And what the hell are you going to Israel for?

  • Comment 40, posted at 24.08.08 20:32:51 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 40) :

    I did it in 1:35. I run about 9 and half minutes a mile. It’s not terribly quick but then I dont run terribly quick and am trying to up the mileage so sacrifice speed.
    Ran a half marathon the other day and went aorund in 2:08 even though I’d only done a 10km (6.3m) up tot hat point. It hurt like hell but I got finished and was pretty chuffed with myself.

    As for israel – well man, it’s an incredible country with great beaches, great nightlife and naturally loads and loads to see, especially ifyou even remotely know your Bible. Everybody that’s been there has only good thingsto say, be they atheists, Jews or Christians.
    Oh, and it’s 33 degrees at the moment so I’ll get some of the summer the Uk didnt provide! ;-)
    We’re flying into Tel Aviv which is only an hours drive from Jerusalem and the Dead Sea and then going down to Eilat on the Red Sea for a few days.
    I just need a break man, I’m absolutely exhausted and stressed out. And I need to get away from work for a few days as I’m quitting on Tuesday, thankfully. Just cant take anymore.

  • Comment 41, posted at 24.08.08 20:40:53 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 41) : Talk about lots of news in one go. I’m also running incredibly slowly at the moment, but just happy to be completing the distance. Running my first 10k, so hoping to do it in not much over an hour. I gather you have another job lined up? We must actually have a beer when you get back

  • Comment 42, posted at 24.08.08 20:56:20 by robdylan Reply
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  • In fact, we must just organise a london get together and get it over with!

  • Comment 43, posted at 24.08.08 20:58:40 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 42) :

    Nah bud just got to the point where I can’t take it anymore.
    Thought I could hold out to the end of the year but I’m sooo miserable I just have to get out.
    The work has degenerated badly to the point where there is not one part of my job, salary xcepted, that I enjoy. And my boss is a psycopath.

  • Comment 44, posted at 24.08.08 21:01:10 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 43) :

    Definitely!

  • Comment 45, posted at 24.08.08 21:02:23 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 42) :

    On the running front I feel the same way – just glad to be finishing and then trying to run further and further.
    It’s tough but well worth it in the end i think. Lost about 16 kgs so far.
    The only downside is that non of my clothes fit anymore…

  • Comment 46, posted at 24.08.08 21:04:32 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • All I can say is “GO ADI”!!!!! :grin:

  • Comment 47, posted at 24.08.08 21:15:20 by Nessa Reply

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  • @Nessa (Comment 47) :

    Then say it on the right thread :wink:

    Hello Nessa long time no see.

    I have to go to bed now. :smile:

  • Comment 48, posted at 24.08.08 21:52:16 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 46) : How long have you been running?

  • Comment 49, posted at 24.08.08 22:02:33 by robdylan Reply
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  • There is big money involved in SA rugby and for that reason I think that he will be fired if the boks keep playing like this. The politicians will shut up (at least for a while).
    That is the good news.

  • Comment 50, posted at 25.08.08 01:46:38 by fyndraai Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 23) :

    What is a ‘fact’ Vinnie???

    ‘But that’s the fact buddy and I was just demonstrating how futile it is to call for his head becasue he’s here to stay.’

    Is it a fact cos YOU said so??? :mrgreen:

  • Comment 51, posted at 25.08.08 07:10:18 by wpw Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 51) :

    Vinnie

    Please ignore my previous comment. Next time I’ll read the whole thread before making posting a comment… :roll: :oops: :oops:

  • Comment 52, posted at 25.08.08 07:21:46 by wpw Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 52) : :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 53, posted at 25.08.08 07:30:30 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • Can someone please post the match stats?

    If I’m not maistaken we made 17 handling errors. :shock:

    17????

  • Comment 54, posted at 25.08.08 07:32:45 by wpw Reply
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  • Seems like you can’t teach a old dog new tricks… :roll:

  • Comment 55, posted at 25.08.08 07:43:12 by Charlie Reply

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