robdylan

Damned if you do and damned if you don’t


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Springboks on 5 Jul 2009 at 21:26
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I wonder exactly which of the several available angles the rabid Anti-Div squad are going to pick for the coming week’s attack. Not that it really matters, I guess, since they’re going to see it all their way regardless. I wonder what changed to suddenly turn John Smit into such a kak coach overnight…

No, I’m looking more at the decision to make ten changes to the team and pondering the fact that, for de Villiers (and, in fact, for coaches in general) the challenge of managing your second-tier of players and giving them sufficient game time is an incredibly tricky one.

Jake White took his side to a World Cup win on a platform (nay, obsessive mantra) of continuity in selection above all else. He told us that he knew, right when he took over in 2004, who would be in his match 22 for that epic final in Paris four years later. Injury and attrition took their toll, but he probably got it at least 70% right. He took plenty criticism along the way, though, for failing to develop any depth whatsoever outside his starting XV – leading to some particularly embarrassing incidents along the way. Remember when Schalk Burger was ruled out and we suddenly discovered that White really had no clue whatsoever who his next-best number 6 was? In fact, he didn’t even believe in picking a specialist in this position, so addicted was he to what Burger had to offer. Remember also the succession of Bok number 16s, starting with Shimmie Shimange, through Gary Botha and Danie Coetzee and eventually on to Bismarck du Plessis, who accumulated approximately 25 minutes of game time, between them, over the course of 4 seasons.

No, Jake was loyal to a fault, but developing depth was not a strength.

Now let’s look at de Villiers. The first thing we were told was that he’d be stupid to not pick exactly the same side Jake White did. He has stuck by that philosophy as closely as he could without compromising too much on his own ideas for the team – and found that every variation from the White blueprint, such as picking Adi Jacobs at outside centre ahead of golden boy Jacque Fourie, was met with increasingly frantic and predictable howls of derision from the trailing hack pack. The great unwashed masses that comprise the Springbok fan club seem to have a completely schizophrenic approach to the new coach – he needs to do everything exactly the way White did, yet even when he does win, it’s because he inherited a great team. The shadow of the former coach looms large over everything he does and I am not surprised that he feels he needs to lash out at the establishment that has saddled him with this unwanted burden. As if his job wasn’t hard enough…

Let’s look at Saturday’s game, though and the brave, yet ultimately foolish decision taken to throw in a veritable Bok B-team against the Lions in the third test. Now, we were told in no uncertain terms that it was a simple case of rotation and that the team picked was in every position the equal of the one that had triumphed so narrowly in the two previous games. The fact is, though, that even had each individual in the new side stood up as expected (and let’s face it, many of them didn’t) the impact of changing so many of the established combinations and introducing so many new faces all at once served to scupper and hopes of a series whitewash, almost before the opening whistle.

So was it right to pick them? The Div-bashers will say no – I see one website of ill-repute (in fact, even iller than Keo’s place) has taken to calling him Peter dof Villiers in a truly astonishing display of the depths to which only Dutchman Humour can sink – and that the great name of Springbok victory has in some way forever been tarnished by losing to the Lions, even though we learned so much about the ability and temperament of our second-string players in the process. They forget, of course, that White, the self-same coach that they can do nothing but praise, send an understrength team overseas in the 2007 Tri-Nations and suffered some quite similar results. I wonder if they still have copied of the articles they wrote calling for his head? I guess it doesn’t matter – so long as you hunt in such a big pack, it doesn’t matter ir you’re right or wrong.

I see it somewhat differently. I think we have had some of our “depth” illusions shattered and now know that we have a fair bit of work to do in developing a second rung of players capable of pushing hard for inclusion in the Bok starting XV, thus keeping the incumbents on their toes and in top form. Chilliboy Rallepele was industrious in the loose, but his set pieces work wasn’t up to scratch. Johann Muller is a good tight number 5, but lacks the raw mongrel to replace what Bakkies Botha brings as a four. Ryan Kankowski battled manfully in a beaten pack but showed, yet again, that he’s not really a player for the tight stuff.

Morné Steyn is a great goalkicker, but looks just as limited behind a retreating pack as Ruan Pienaar did – the latter at least appeared to have some ideas and attacking variation when coming on in the second half. Wynand Olivier is selfish as ever and, let’s be honest, not a great distributor. Jacque Fourie had so few opportunities to do anything that it’s not surprising he looked ordinary, while the back three were just plain out of their depth. Odwa Ndunange was shown up for a lack of top-end while Jongi Nokwe and Zane Kirchner have no hands and no clue respectively.

So then – Peter de Villiers now knows a lot more about exactly what he has in his squad and will use the Tri-Nations to fine-tune his ideal team within those boundaries. The good news for those slaving away in the Currie Cup is that a fair few spots on the end of year tour would appear to have opened up and there is now much to play for.



61 Comments

  • I agree. I for one was quite excited by the team announced, because maybe I was foolish enough to believe all those armchair selectors who had wailed at De Vill’s team at the start of this tournament. Unfortunately this team was found wanting, however Brussouw was impressive, Fourie was strong fighting for the ball on the ground, I have always liked a Back who can tackle get back on his feet and immediately contest the ball. As much as Bismark brings steel to the scrum somebody has to tell him he doesn’t have to be involved in or creating every scuffle ( Which is very irritating). Unfortunately due to players like him and Bakkies, the idea that Boks are Dirty Players across the park is a reality to the average Kiwi on the street. I have now resorted to quips like at least the Boks fight on the field and not with women ( eg. Sivivatu (sp) or Thompson) just to get the majority of these idiots to SHUT UP. Go The Boks in the TRI NATIONS, but I am worried!!!!

  • Comment 1, posted at 05.07.09 22:38:43 by Dynamite Reply
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  • @Dynamite (Comment 1) : bismark is pissing me off in a lot of ways right now

  • Comment 2, posted at 05.07.09 22:48:56 by robdylan Reply
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  • W@robdylan (Comment 2) : What I can’t understand is why as a Profesional he isn’t held accountable for his actions, surely this will curtail a lot of niggle if these guys were acoountable for Stupid mistakes, I am not talking about silly spur of the moment mistakes I am talking about taking about being Stupid like taking out a kicker with your shoulder way after he has kicked Stupid.

  • Comment 3, posted at 05.07.09 23:06:14 by Dynamite Reply

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  • The coach was experimenting in the dead rubber with his eyes on the 3N. One cannot find fault with that.

    The senior players were obsessed with Bakkies. It was childish and silly.

    The 2nd choice players played well and one cannot blame them for the loss. Just too many new combinations and with the Lions playing like they did they probably would have beaten any Bok team on the day.

  • Comment 4, posted at 06.07.09 05:14:10 by fyndraai Reply
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  • I feel I have to oppose your Sharks tinted view of the Pienaar v Steyn comparison with my Bulls tinted view.

    The stats from scrum.com
    Test kick/pass/run meters
    1 RP 13/3/10 0
    2 RP 5/10/3 2
    3 MS 12/20/5 30

    According to this, Steyn did somewhat better behind a retreating pack in test 3 than Pienaar did behind a dominant pack in test 1.
    Score 1 for Steyn.

    Both players played a major role in a Bok try. Pienaar in John Smit’s and Steyn in Jacque Fourie’s.
    Score 1 for both.

    To the best of my knowledge the Bok 10, 12, 13 axis made only one clean line-break in the 3 tests. The move that lead to JF’s blood injury in test 3. The Lions broke our midfield numerous times in test 1.
    Score 1 for Steyn.

    Most importantly the test series would have been drawn, but for one crucial kick that took place after time was up in test 2. A kick that is beyond Pienaar’s range.
    And the winner must be………! Morne Steyn! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 5, posted at 06.07.09 05:35:00 by fyndraai Reply
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  • Very good arti dude!

  • Comment 6, posted at 06.07.09 08:13:33 by Morné Reply
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  • De Villiers said he picked the team he did with the eye on the 3N.

    Fair enough, I do not agree with coaching principles like that because it is almost like the ‘judge me at the World Cup’ line.

    Jake did it in 2007 and he did go on to win the WC. I hope Peter (for his sake) nails the 3N…

  • Comment 7, posted at 06.07.09 08:15:15 by Morné Reply
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  • Good work Robbo!

  • Comment 8, posted at 06.07.09 08:27:23 by Claytie Reply
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  • @fyndraai (Comment 4) :

    I’ve tried to look at it from different angles…but yeah- the arm-band thing was childish and low class.

  • Comment 9, posted at 06.07.09 08:36:20 by blackshark Reply

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  • @fyndraai (Comment 5) :

    I hope the coach will see it with his Sharks tinted glasses.

    Did MS run those 30 metres without the ball ?

  • Comment 10, posted at 06.07.09 08:45:09 by blackshark Reply

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  • I am getting so tired of reading yet another “get a new coach” arti every few minutes. These guys are all so boring and predictable.

  • Comment 11, posted at 06.07.09 08:52:05 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 11) :

    And we’ve just won the series…can you imagine if we had lost?

  • Comment 12, posted at 06.07.09 08:58:24 by blackshark Reply

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  • @blackshark (Comment 12) : if you read the sh*t they spew, you’d think we did lose it!

  • Comment 13, posted at 06.07.09 09:18:45 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 11) : I agree…look I know I’ve been critical…mostly about the way PdV handles the media, but Voldy is getting out of hand and that Gavin Rich article is WAY over the top. I’m actually starting to feel sorry for old Snor

  • Comment 14, posted at 06.07.09 09:19:13 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @fyndraai (Comment 5) : nice deduction, Sherlock! :)

  • Comment 15, posted at 06.07.09 09:19:18 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 14) : come over to our side… walk towards the light :)

    Us (mostly) Sharks fans are the last bastion of reason and sense in this mad, bad world! :)

  • Comment 16, posted at 06.07.09 09:20:26 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 16) : PdV is not gonna get fired for beating the Lions in the series…..so the least we can do is support him for the 3 nations. We should all be happy because we beat the (mighty??) Lions and all that most journo’s are doing is calling for PdV’s head…..

    I’m worried though because the situation is getting out of hand and even if PdV is the best coach in the world….this sort of continious negative press will eventually impact on the players

  • Comment 17, posted at 06.07.09 09:27:38 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 16) : Sounds like that speech in 300

  • Comment 18, posted at 06.07.09 09:31:33 by Claytie Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 17) : I agree with you – but you need to look at it with a firm historical perspective. This journalistic sh*tstorm is nothing new. They do this to EVERY Bok coach. It’s like they run out of ideas so immediately hit the “default” button.

    “Ouens, what is we going to right vis week?”
    “Los my uit, ek eet nog! Snork Snork!”
    “Ag, ok… then we’ll sommers jus moer vat coach ou again”
    “I have a article from two years ago vat you can sommer use. Just take out ve name of Jake White and sommer put in vere Peter dof Villiers”
    “Lekker. Nog ‘n brannas?”
    “Met ys, ja…”

    (Note that Keo and his minions were not present during this discussion… they just pick up on what the other guys write and try to pass it off as their original “exclusives”)

  • Comment 19, posted at 06.07.09 09:36:04 by robdylan Reply
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  • I’m not sure what PdV is doing wrong. Or more wrong than previous coaches.

    Sure English is not his first language and after he’s translated it in his head some of his comments would have the makers of the enigma scrathing their heads. :mrgreen:

    But since the tri-nations speed wobble we do seem to be winning plenty of test matches lately. And that’s all I care about.

  • Comment 20, posted at 06.07.09 09:39:00 by McLovin Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 19) : I suppose I didn’t spend this much time reading this crap in the JW of Strauli era’s. :roll:

  • Comment 21, posted at 06.07.09 09:41:27 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @McLovin (Comment 20) : Good to have you back Mac.(Rhyme not intentional)

  • Comment 22, posted at 06.07.09 09:48:39 by Claytie Reply
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  • @Claytie (Comment 22) : :cool:

  • Comment 23, posted at 06.07.09 09:51:25 by McLovin Reply

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  • @Pokkel (Comment 21) : perhaps :)

  • Comment 24, posted at 06.07.09 09:54:06 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 16) :

    WE are aren’t we?? :mrgreen:

  • Comment 25, posted at 06.07.09 09:55:12 by wpw Reply
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  • I saw PDivvie being interviewed in Afrikaans and he seemed much more comfortable. :cool:

  • Comment 26, posted at 06.07.09 09:58:28 by wpw Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 26) : Have you seen Santana being interviewed in English? :lol: :lol:

  • Comment 27, posted at 06.07.09 10:03:57 by blackshark Reply

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  • @wpw (Comment 25) : I said mostly :)

  • Comment 28, posted at 06.07.09 10:10:49 by robdylan Reply
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  • @blackshark (Comment 27) : he sings ok in English… then again, so did Milli Vanilli

  • Comment 29, posted at 06.07.09 10:11:51 by robdylan Reply
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  • @blackshark (Comment 27) : Is he the guitarist from Bon Jovi? :wink:

  • Comment 30, posted at 06.07.09 10:14:32 by McLovin Reply

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  • I wonder what changed to suddenly turn John Smit into such a kak coach overnight…

    JS shouldn’t have made 10 changes. That’s why he turned into a kak coach overnight… :???:

  • Comment 31, posted at 06.07.09 10:19:09 by klempie Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 29) :

    They’ll probably blame in on the rain… :roll:

  • Comment 32, posted at 06.07.09 10:19:59 by wpw Reply
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  • @McLovin (Comment 30) : that’s Richie Sambora :)

  • Comment 33, posted at 06.07.09 10:24:43 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 33) : Potato, Poh-taah-to… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 34, posted at 06.07.09 10:27:44 by McLovin Reply

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  • i have no problem with what div did. he asked his back up players to put their hand up and some did. he also gave a few regulars time off to rest up before the tn series. where he will be ridiculed is if he selects players in the tn’s that never performed on the lions tour. players like juan smith, zane kirchner, nokwe, chiliboy, gurthro, schalk and januarie should not see a green jersey again this year. if they are selected then div deserves every bit of crit he gets. one thing that did show is vermaak and deysel are missing from the squad. both have played well all season and deserve a look in. lets hope div doesn’t choose as poorly as he speaks. one area though where div does have a problem is making up the numbers, but that is an issue for another site.

  • Comment 35, posted at 06.07.09 10:50:33 by try time (superrugby's kryptonite is SANZAR) Reply

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  • one area though where div does have a problem is making up the numbers, but that is an issue for another site.

    :lol: :lol: :lol:

  • Comment 36, posted at 06.07.09 10:54:21 by klempie Reply

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  • rob i think you are harsh on ryan. juan let ryan down. ryan had to cover juan’s work load. i am getting sick of juan standing around watching breakdowns, when he is supposed to be at the bottom of them. a good loose trio would be deysel, brussow, spies with ryan coming on as super sub.

  • Comment 37, posted at 06.07.09 10:55:12 by try time (superrugby's kryptonite is SANZAR) Reply

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  • @klempie (Comment 36) : i know rob is strict on that, but it is definitely one of the reasons for some of the selections.

    rob i am not trying stir, it is purely fact.

  • Comment 38, posted at 06.07.09 10:58:14 by try time (superrugby's kryptonite is SANZAR) Reply

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  • @try time (superrugby’s kryptonite is SANZAR) (Comment 38) : Fact means nothing on this site. :wink:

  • Comment 39, posted at 06.07.09 11:01:01 by klempie Reply

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  • rob i agree on morne though, he wasn’t as great as his praise singers (supersport) say he is. he is a guy i would start if it is raining.

  • Comment 40, posted at 06.07.09 11:02:13 by try time (superrugby's kryptonite is SANZAR) Reply

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  • @klempie (Comment 39) : is that a fact :?: :lol:

  • Comment 41, posted at 06.07.09 11:03:03 by try time (superrugby's kryptonite is SANZAR) Reply

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  • @try time (superrugby’s kryptonite is SANZAR) (Comment 37) :

    Maybe his scrum cap was too tight…

    I think he’s not the same Juan he used to be…since the concussion scares and all that…

  • Comment 42, posted at 06.07.09 11:12:23 by blackshark Reply

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  • @try time (superrugby’s kryptonite is SANZAR) (Comment 38) :

    Please elaborate when using the word ‘fact’

    Do you have proof to back up that statement??

  • Comment 43, posted at 06.07.09 11:20:08 by wpw Reply
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  • @blackshark (Comment 42) : good point. maybe he is not right after the injury.

  • Comment 44, posted at 06.07.09 11:24:08 by try time (superrugby's kryptonite is SANZAR) Reply

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  • White socks and black shoes tomorrow!

  • Comment 45, posted at 06.07.09 11:25:02 by blackshark Reply

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  • oh let it go you two!

  • Comment 46, posted at 06.07.09 11:25:27 by robdylan Reply
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  • @try time (superrugby’s kryptonite is SANZAR) (Comment 44) :
    He seems fragile – Deysel should start warming up…

  • Comment 47, posted at 06.07.09 11:27:38 by blackshark Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 46) : Two *

    :wink:

  • Comment 48, posted at 06.07.09 11:44:48 by klempie Reply

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  • @klempie (Comment 48) : done.

  • Comment 49, posted at 06.07.09 11:47:17 by robdylan Reply
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  • @klempie (Comment 48) : Ah the perks of being an admin. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 50, posted at 06.07.09 11:47:55 by klempie Reply

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  • Great article rob….i’m really annoyed at many so-called journo sites with their comments on this series victory....we did win didn’t we? :grin:

  • Comment 51, posted at 06.07.09 12:16:12 by ambiorix Reply

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  • @ambiorix (Comment 51) : as far as I can recall, we did!

  • Comment 52, posted at 06.07.09 12:20:49 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 52) : @ambiorix (Comment 51) : yes and we have now tested our depth and are ready to take the tn. aussies are the threat this year. all blacks look a bit flat.

  • Comment 53, posted at 06.07.09 12:26:47 by try time (superrugby's kryptonite is SANZAR) Reply

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  • @try time (superrugby’s kryptonite is SANZAR) (Comment 53) : correct… Ausmob are going to be a real handful.

  • Comment 54, posted at 06.07.09 12:42:21 by robdylan Reply
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  • You guys are surely having a laugh? Or being very PC.

    Do you really think none of the criticism is warranted?

    I must also say the SA media have been very kind to PdV in comparison with the international media!

  • Comment 55, posted at 06.07.09 12:45:12 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 55) :

    A selected few have been kind – but the majority has been as bad as international media…

  • Comment 56, posted at 06.07.09 12:48:16 by blackshark Reply

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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 55) : Vinnie china. Being PC is part of the unwritten “Rules”…

  • Comment 57, posted at 06.07.09 12:48:55 by klempie Reply

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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 55) : the British media were only concerned with coulda, shoulda, woulda. The fact that they didn’t was merely a hiccup in their campaign to find scapegoats.

    Since their touring side was so damn bloody brilliant whatto, it was left to find reasons to complain.

    The local media happily obliged them by providing cannon fodder.

    Let one of those wannabees try play or coach the game and we’d soon find out why the pen is mightier than the sword.

  • Comment 58, posted at 06.07.09 12:57:17 by Baldrick Reply

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  • @Baldrick (Comment 58) : good to see you on form baldie. you make me sound like a kitten.

  • Comment 59, posted at 06.07.09 13:15:06 by try time (superrugby's kryptonite is SANZAR) Reply

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  • @try time (superrugby’s kryptonite is SANZAR) (Comment 59) : I’m not slagging off any players, coaches, IRB, quotas, polictics or anything.

    WHile there are some honest and decent media types out there, those who cut their teeth on the rugby field and had enough brains to write about this game we all love so much, sadly many have degraded into using the pen in scandalous and trailer trash ways to bring about the demise of others who they take a dislike to.

    I’d love to see one of these sychophants who are quick to hide behind a laptop when they curse a player or coach, come face to face with their enemies in a dark alley.

  • Comment 60, posted at 06.07.09 13:29:31 by Baldrick Reply

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  • @Baldrick (Comment 58) :

    Whooah there buddy.

    It’s not just the British media that are having a go – the Aussies and kiwis had a field day during the 3N last year.
    Even former (and current) players have gotten in on the action.
    Matt Dawson, Jeremy Guscott, BoD, Dowd, Fitzy, all of them have had a go at PdV.

    Is the whole world wrong and PdV is right? You have some serious blinkers on if you believe that.

    Sorry – I’d really like to support PdV… but the man is nuttier than a fruitcake.

  • Comment 61, posted at 06.07.09 13:52:18 by VinChainSaw Reply
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