robdylan

Cheers Rudolf – and all the best


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Lions, Original Content, Sharks on 4 Nov 2013 at 11:19
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

Rudolf Straeuli said his final goodbyes to the Sharks on Friday and today starts work with the Golden Lions, in a similar role to the one he held in Durban for the better part of a decade.

Former Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl appointed the ex-Bok coach in 2005, just two years after his much-publicised departure from South Africa, following the woes of 2002 and 2003. Despite a bright start to his coaching tenure, Straeuli presided over one of the darkest periods in Springboks history, including 2002′s disastrous tour to the UK (anyone remember 53-3 at Twickenham?) and 2003′s trifecta of the Geo Cronje saga, Kamp Staldraad and the World Cup debacle. Considered by many to be persona non grata in South African rugby circles at the time, Van Zyl’s decision to back the man who had coached the Sharks to three finals earlier in the decade proved a controversial one indeed.

Straeuli’s tenure at the Sharks was one marked by distinct contrasts; on the one hand, his no-nonsense approach to player contracting and financial administration brought huge benefits to an organisation desperately in need of some basic discipline and rigour, but on the other, his authoritarian and often dictatorial approach was never a particularly comfortable fit in “laid-back Durban” and led to many clashes of heads during his time in the hot seat. While Straeuli, for the most part, did a superb job in terms of assembling a top notch squad of players each year, one felt that the culture created wasn’t well-suited to retention of those players – what’s more, with generally unhealthy relationships over the course of those years between the Commercial Director and the various head coaches in place, one felt that much of Straeuli’s good work was undone. Dick Muir, I’m told, simply couldn’t or wouldn’t accept any meddling in his “out of the box” selection policy, while John Plumtree’s ultra-conservative approach made life incredibly difficult for a Commercial Director concerned with balancing the books through promotion of juniors through the ranks, at the expense of expensive Boks who may have passed their sell-by date.

Those who have followed the story of Sharksworld over the years will know, of course, that our own relationship with Mr Straeuli was far from smooth over the years. My one regret, I guess, is that I don’t think I ever quite managed to convince him that my motivation was anything other wanting to “make a quick buck off his brand” – a point that rankles. Then again, I’m quite sure that I am guilty of misinterpreting more than a few of Rudolf’s own motives and lambasting him far more publicly than he probably deserved for doing something I disagreed with, without ever really understanding his side of the story. In short, I can only look back on a relationship fraught with misunderstanding and regret that I didn’t make more of an effort to look for the good – to believe the best – and ultimately be more fair in what I wrote.

I’m sure that, things being the way they are, most of the really good things that Rudolf Straeuli did for the Sharks will never really come to light and the fruits of those labours will probably be plucked by others, without much credit going to the former Commercial Director. Let’s not forget, though, that the squad we now have – the one that won the Currie Cup and will hopefully go on to win Super Rugby under Jake White – is a squad largely assembled and contracted by none other than the former Lions and Bok loose forward.

Rudolf – I sincerely wish you all the best for your future endeavours and really hope we have the opportunity to share another beer at some point in the future.



41 Comments

  • I find the comments in the Lions press release interesting:

    Commenting on his departure from The Sharks, Straeuli shared that one of his goals for the future is to establish a strong relationship between the Durban-based franchise and the GLRU.

    “I feel that synergy in the rugby industry is important and I believe that two rugby unions working in tandem can only benefit and grow the game as a whole,” he said.

    “I see my new position as a unique opportunity for both The Sharks and the Lions to work closely together in future.”

    Not sure how he sees this working out. Time will tell

  • Comment 1, posted at 04.11.13 11:25:33 by Baylion Reply
    BaylionSuper Rugby player
     
  • @Baylion (Comment 1) : I think John Smit is very keen to build a culture where the Sharks aren’t actually at war with anyone.

    kind of ironic that it’s van Zyl and Straeuli are pretty much squarely responsible for the situation that Smit is trying to undo.

  • Comment 2, posted at 04.11.13 11:27:53 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Baylion (Comment 1) : That statement stuck out like a sore thumb, certainly not something that someone with an ax to grind would be saying.

  • Comment 3, posted at 04.11.13 11:45:51 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
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  • @robdylan (Comment 2) : Im sure the Brumbies are waiting anxiously for their Xmas card.

  • Comment 4, posted at 04.11.13 11:47:03 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Baylion (Comment 1) :

    Similar to Griquas/Cheetahs relationship without one being the ‘smaller’ union. But more, sharing and distribution of surplus resources specifically players is one area I believe our franchises can and should work on together.

  • Comment 5, posted at 04.11.13 11:51:41 by Morné Reply
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    MornéTeam captain
     
  • @Morné (Comment 5) : I’m still disappointed with the way the Sharks’ relationship with their Superrugby “partners” (EP and Border) never developed into what it should/could have been.

  • Comment 6, posted at 04.11.13 12:02:22 by MysticShark Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 4) : touché

  • Comment 7, posted at 04.11.13 12:03:20 by robdylan Reply
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  • @MysticShark (Comment 6) : i believe it worked out quite well if one considers the amount of ec rugby talent playing -or having played- at the sharks . perhaps didnt work in favour of ep and border.

  • Comment 8, posted at 04.11.13 12:08:41 by 50shadesofblackandwhite Reply

    Under 21 player
     
  • “…no-nonsense approach to player contracting and financial administration brought huge benefits to an organisation desperately in need of some basic discipline and rigour,…”

    If ever there was an union in need of this type of management, it is the Lions.

  • Comment 9, posted at 04.11.13 13:46:17 by 13 Reply

    13Under 19 player
     
  • @13 (Comment 9) : um, yes

  • Comment 10, posted at 04.11.13 13:46:48 by robdylan Reply
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  • I wonder if Lionel Mapoe has been summoned to Rudi’s office yet for a contract review. I imagine this happened before the first cup of coffee was poured. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 11, posted at 04.11.13 16:27:11 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 11) : LOL

  • Comment 12, posted at 04.11.13 18:00:47 by robdylan Reply
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  • Lions culture is the epitome of what we want nothing to do with…

    How is a relationship with them anything but only beneficial to them? THEY don’t have player capital to aid us in anyway.

  • Comment 13, posted at 04.11.13 18:14:45 by Talent Reply
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    TalentCurrie Cup player
     
  • @Talent (Comment 13) : ORLY?

    Did you perhaps count the number of Lions players we called on to bail us out during SR this year?

  • Comment 14, posted at 04.11.13 19:26:13 by robdylan Reply
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  • This year we already saw a bit of Lions-Sharks “synergy” during the S15. Three Lions players were on loan deals with Derrick Mienie, Franco vd Merwe and Andries Coetzee (who got injured). So it is not strange to hear such talks. I don’t think we should be suprised to see Sharks fringe players in white and red strip in the S15. Just to add depth

  • Comment 15, posted at 04.11.13 19:30:08 by JustPlainSHARK Reply

    JustPlainSHARKCurrie Cup player
     
  • Hey you gays.

  • Comment 16, posted at 04.11.13 19:34:54 by VinChainSaw Reply
    Author
    VinChainSawTeam captain
     
  • Oops. Freudian slip.

  • Comment 17, posted at 04.11.13 19:35:14 by VinChainSaw Reply
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    VinChainSawTeam captain
     
  • @JustPlainSHARK (Comment 15) : and JC Janse van Rensburg

  • Comment 18, posted at 04.11.13 19:42:46 by robdylan Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 16) : you recovered? Ready to give this blogging thing another go? :)

  • Comment 19, posted at 04.11.13 19:43:49 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 14) : Those two players got us far!!!

  • Comment 20, posted at 04.11.13 21:26:41 by Talent Reply
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    TalentCurrie Cup player
     
  • @Talent (Comment 20) : 2? It was 4…

  • Comment 21, posted at 04.11.13 21:29:11 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 21) : Did you delete the ? I put after two?? you did you sly dog :lol:

    Half of those players ended up injured ,the other half gave away plenty silly penalties :mrgreen: .Only really Franco offered any consistent form to the team.

  • Comment 22, posted at 04.11.13 21:47:47 by Talent Reply
    Author
    TalentCurrie Cup player
     
  • @Talent (Comment 13) : You’ve obviously confused the Lions with the Bulls. They’re both from Gauteng but one of the two does not continually contract every youngster in the country and then decides to recruit two of their coaches.

  • Comment 23, posted at 04.11.13 21:52:02 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @Talent (Comment 22) : I did no such thing

  • Comment 24, posted at 04.11.13 21:55:10 by robdylan Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 23) : I have a very strong dislike for the Bulls ,I know who they are. Im constantly on their FB page asking them to learn how to tackle-be troll dem hard!! :mrgreen:

    Im scared a desperate Morne Steyn is going to arrive at my house drunk one night, with a gun, not the type of gun him and Pierre share when things get rowdy, the kinda gun that you use in a gun range. :lol: :lol:

  • Comment 25, posted at 04.11.13 21:56:55 by Talent Reply
    Author
    TalentCurrie Cup player
     
  • @robdylan (Comment 24) : ;-) yes yes… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 26, posted at 04.11.13 21:58:02 by Talent Reply
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    TalentCurrie Cup player
     
  • @Talent (Comment 25) : If you still dont get it ,the kind of gun Saffex and Benji play with :lol: just kidding-I respect them both !

  • Comment 27, posted at 04.11.13 21:59:39 by Talent Reply
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    TalentCurrie Cup player
     
  • @Talent (Comment 27) : Eish now you just being cruel and unusual

  • Comment 28, posted at 04.11.13 22:29:31 by benji Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
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  • The Sharks first choice players are a cut above those of the Lions in most positions but their second choice aren’t really.

    The Sharks & Lions seniors seem to have overstocks and shortages in the same positions and their junior teams are on a par, which makes a player exchange unlikely except if the one team picks up a number of injuries in a position the other doesn’t.

  • Comment 29, posted at 05.11.13 06:43:18 by Baylion Reply

    BaylionSuper Rugby player
     
  • @Talent (Comment 25) : Na Morne’ is a pretty cool headed oke, I called him Frans Steyn once after too much lager in Hatfield, he ignored me, and Meisie kid just could keep his laugh in haha. Good old times that :D

  • Comment 30, posted at 05.11.13 09:23:09 by Uli Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
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  • @robdylan (Comment 19) :

    Nah, not yet.

  • Comment 31, posted at 05.11.13 15:28:12 by VinChainSaw Reply
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    VinChainSawTeam captain
     
  • @Uli (Comment 30) : you good mates with those Bulls okes, hey?

  • Comment 32, posted at 05.11.13 16:31:39 by robdylan Reply
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  • Cheers Rudolf – and all the best

    :shock:

    The least you could have done to go along with the familiarity is to have got his name right. :smile:

    It’s Rudolph.

  • Comment 33, posted at 05.11.13 16:38:46 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 33) :

    so here’s the last email I got from him… an auto-reply, but should prove my point.

    Thank you for your e-mail. I am out of the office until Tuesday 18th June 2013. I will reply to your mail on my return. If it is urgent please contact my secretary, XXXXXXX on 031 XXXXXXX in case of emergency. Any contract matters, please send mail to [email protected]

    Regards
    Rudolf

    That mail, btw, was sent to [email protected]

  • Comment 34, posted at 05.11.13 16:44:45 by robdylan Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 33) : Wikipedia lists it incorrectly, his folks decided on the less elegant spelling.

  • Comment 35, posted at 05.11.13 22:01:38 by vanmartin Reply
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    vanmartinAssistant coach
     
  • Is anyone taking over from Ol’ Rudi? Or is it going to be under Jake’s purview?

  • Comment 36, posted at 05.11.13 22:39:22 by MerckZ Reply

    MerckZSuper Rugby player
     
  • @MerckZ (Comment 36) : good question actually… I’m not sure.

    I reckon John will do a fair bit of it, with Jake

  • Comment 37, posted at 05.11.13 22:59:00 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 34) : Geez, but Rudolf sent you a lot of kisses, and I thought there was not much love there.

  • Comment 38, posted at 06.11.13 09:17:20 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 32) : Na, just had some fun in Hatfield years ago. ;)

  • Comment 39, posted at 06.11.13 09:42:41 by Uli Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
    Uli BoelieTeam captain
     
  • Cheers Oom Rudi, I will never forget making you drunk in Mtuba Rugby Club in 2001 with that beer funnel. :twisted: :twisted:

  • Comment 40, posted at 06.11.13 09:44:20 by Uli Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 35) : I didn’t even check Wiki. I checked his SARU profile and the 1995 RWC winning team photo. :)

  • Comment 41, posted at 06.11.13 13:59:51 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     

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