Richard Ferguson

Friends in right places


Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 14 Mar 2012 at 09:30
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I had the honour of attending a Question and Answer session with Brian van Zyl and Ross Skeate last week, thanks largely to my mate Barry, who can get us in almost anywhere. Anyway, the food was fantastic, but the real reason for attending was to be able to see these two squirm as the audience peppered them with questions.

The questions raised were largely expected, with issues surrounding referees and the stadium raised, obviously with the intention of van Zyl answering them, with Ross Skeate coming off lightly with the usual hobbies and respected opponent questions.

On the point of the potential move from Kings Park to Moses Mabhida, van Zyl ruled out any speculation that this would happen, as the soccer stadium simply does not have the necessary suites, which is where the Union currently makes the most of its revenue. Another snag is that the soccer stadium would be unable to house the academy, which sees 200 students basically live in the stadium five days a week.

The discussion quickly turned to referees, and how the union relationship worked with the various referees. Van Zyl made it quite clear that he did not like Bryce Lawrence very much, stating that the union reported him after one game last season, and found that he had made a massive 41 errors in one half alone.

He went further to say that the Sharks do get the referees in at training sessions to help with interpretations and technique, but as every referee has a different interpretation, this is actually a bit of a waste of time. Skeate was then asked to say how the players react to referees on match day, and how exactly the process works. He made the comment that he personally enjoys Craig Joubert, as he continually speaks to the players whereas someone like Mark Lawrence will not explain certain decisions on the field to the players.

We then cornered Mr van Zyl for a little one on one chat, where I asked him about the lack of a KZN team in the Varsity Cup, and what the union was planning to do about it. His answer was rather simple, in that their hands are tied in the matter. The Varsity Cup is clear in its ruling that the team has to come from a recognised University, and that a team has to be made up of a majority of actual students. Although the academy allows the players to study, and has lectures and graduations, it is not seen as a University. And with the current Varsity Shield representative team from KZN, the UKZN Impi, being based in Pietermaritzburg, they are unable to have any influence with this team.

Barry was a bit more blunt than I usually am, and asked whether Plum would lose his job if the Sharks do not make the playoffs to the Super Rugby and do not win the Currie Cup at the end of the year. The bluntness of the answer shocked me, as van Zyl made it clear that with the resources Plumtree has at his disposal, that an unsuccessful year will see Plumtree being pulled in front of the board. He did qualify that statement by saying that Plumtree has a contract that runs until the end of next season.

For those that have been reading all this way to hear about Skeate, his hobby is to practice his lineout jumps and his most feared opponents include Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield, as well as Chris Jack.



30 Comments

  • Thanks Richard. Insightful read.

  • Comment 1, posted at 14.03.12 09:40:43 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 1) :

    Anytime dude..

    Are you still heading down to the Easter Festival?

  • Comment 2, posted at 14.03.12 10:04:47 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 2) : So far its a go yes.

  • Comment 3, posted at 14.03.12 10:13:55 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 3) :

    Awesome, should be quite good..

  • Comment 4, posted at 14.03.12 10:16:44 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • With regards to Moses Mahbida, stadium management should be doing everything they can to accommodate the Sharks. Not enough suites? Build more. No room for the academy? Make room. The revenue generated will surely justify the additional capital expenditure required… I like Kings Park, but if you’re in the stands, and not a midget, you run the risk of violence every time you move because your knees are so close the the person in front of you’s head. Granted, i don’t know what will happen to Collegians and Rovers fields, but there is no reason why the pre and post-match festivities can’t carry on as they do now…

  • Comment 5, posted at 14.03.12 10:34:01 by The Quirk Reply
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  • @The Quirk (Comment 5) :

    Simply because the current stadium will be broken down..

    You wont have the fields there as a result.

    It will be a shame to move, but I do hear what you are saying. It is very tricky indeed

  • Comment 6, posted at 14.03.12 10:39:03 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 6) : I suppose it will come down to the intentions of the people responsible for deciding what happens to that particular part of Durban. Will it be a sports complex, extension of the new stadium, or will it become a giant parking lot. Perhaps compromise is necessary. Maybe play only tests at MM… Tricky…

  • Comment 7, posted at 14.03.12 10:45:20 by The Quirk Reply
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  • @The Quirk (Comment 7) :

    The big question for me, is how long will it take to come to a decision on the matter.

    Surely long term plans at Kings Park will be put on hold until it is finalised that the Sharks will not move?

  • Comment 8, posted at 14.03.12 10:56:21 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • They should have got input from all stakeholders before building the stadium. I know hindsight is an exact science, but surely there should have been a plan as to how best they could make use of the stadium AFTER the Soccer WC.

    It’s going to be interesting to see what happens going ahead.

    @Richard Ferguson (Comment 8) : Very good point.

  • Comment 9, posted at 14.03.12 11:12:59 by StevieS Reply
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  • @StevieS (Comment 9) :

    van Zyl actually made the point that the Union was unaware that another stadium was going to be built.

    Kings Park hosted the committee to decide on the World Cup, and then got informed only afterwards that a decision was made to build the stadium..

  • Comment 10, posted at 14.03.12 11:16:20 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 10) : Are you kidding :roll:

    Was there any funny stuff with tenders being awarded for the building of the new stadium or something that we should know about? How could they not inform the Sharks who would be the biggest stakeholders?!

  • Comment 11, posted at 14.03.12 11:19:06 by StevieS Reply
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  • @StevieS (Comment 11) :

    He didn’t go into that amount of detail, abviously he can’t, but he did make it clear that the whole idea of another stadium came as a surprise to them..

  • Comment 12, posted at 14.03.12 11:20:11 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @The Quirk (Comment 5) : Even if MM stadium could accomodate the Sharks’ requirements, it would STILL make no sense to move. Why on earth would you move from a stadium where your gate takings are all your to a stadium that you have to “rent” and share your gate takings? Then we’ll be bitching because ticket prices have gone up and the stadium is even more empty.

  • Comment 13, posted at 14.03.12 11:21:23 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 13) :

    And you end up sitting further from the action..

  • Comment 14, posted at 14.03.12 11:25:56 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 14) : Apparently the seating is very good at MM. Some of my mates have been and said it feels like you’re really close.

    @KSA Shark © (Comment 13) : Very valid point. Sharks would be crazy to move from a financial perspective.

  • Comment 15, posted at 14.03.12 11:28:00 by StevieS Reply
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  • @StevieS (Comment 15) : It FEELS like you’re sitting closer. :) That’s like a guy who has just bought a crappy office chair and says it’s ACTUALLY very comfortable once you get used to it. :)

  • Comment 16, posted at 14.03.12 11:40:21 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • Thanks Rich, any hints from Brian on whether the Sharks’ coaching staff will be expanded/changed in this year? Seems to be a point that get’s touched on a lot in the discussions on SW.

  • Comment 17, posted at 14.03.12 11:41:55 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 16) :

    Haha!

    Or growing into liking to be a Vegetarian.. Once you have forgotten what meat tastes like..

  • Comment 18, posted at 14.03.12 11:43:06 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 17) :

    His only comment in that regard was that Plum does not mind bringing in other people, like he did at the Trial game.

    David Campese, Mike Atherton, John Allen, Mark Andrews etc were all there to give advise.

    No permanent appointments though..

  • Comment 19, posted at 14.03.12 11:44:29 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 16) : Comparing Kings Park to MM is like comparing my (now sold thank goodness) old clunker Golf 3 GTi to a new Golf 6 Gti… It’s just better, I watched a world cup game at MM and it was awesome, Budweisers aside…

  • Comment 20, posted at 14.03.12 11:46:23 by The Quirk Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 16) : Haha just what they said. They said the view is very good. Not talking from personal experience here.

  • Comment 21, posted at 14.03.12 11:56:30 by StevieS Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 19) : I really like the out-the-box thinking in getting advice from other people. Shows he’s not to proud to get help which is always a good thing.

  • Comment 22, posted at 14.03.12 11:58:38 by StevieS Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 13) : Apparently the powers that be who built the MM stadium looked for no input from the Sharks. They built it and just expected that the Sharks would be falling over themselves to move in…

  • Comment 23, posted at 14.03.12 12:05:53 by lostfish Reply
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  • @lostfish (Comment 23) : Seems to be the case :shock:

  • Comment 24, posted at 14.03.12 12:25:19 by vanmartin Reply
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  • Remind me not to tell you anything in confidence. You may write a report and misquote me.

  • Comment 25, posted at 14.03.12 13:35:59 by waje Reply

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  • @waje (Comment 25) : confidence at a press Q&A?
    Misquote? How?

    Maggie is our troll please don’t even bother trying to unseat him.

  • Comment 26, posted at 14.03.12 13:44:47 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @waje (Comment 25) :

    I don’t understand?

    What did I misquote exactly?

  • Comment 27, posted at 14.03.12 13:47:23 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 27) : Don’t ask for facts. You’ll ruin a good attempt at trying to discredit you.

  • Comment 28, posted at 14.03.12 13:52:51 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @waje (Comment 25) : I doubt Richard would waste the time…

  • Comment 29, posted at 14.03.12 13:55:44 by robdylan Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 28) :
    @robdylan (Comment 29) :

    I’d actually like to see what he has to say about this, just a shame he is now too much of a coward to come out and say anything..

  • Comment 30, posted at 14.03.12 15:39:08 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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