Live at the game

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Springboks, Tri Nations on 25 Aug 2008 at 10:03
Tagged with : ,

At the outset, let me point out that this effort comes about from a challenge issued – and accepted. I emailed the administrator (Rob) to ask for more fan’s pieces and he asked why I don’t write one. After a bit of cajoling and one or two prods, he got me to admit defeat and so contribute something from a fan.

Sharksworld poster Baldrick gives us his views from Kings Park

This was the second Test I have been to at Kings Park, the last one was when I was invited to sit in a box. That was 2000, the year a very young and innocent looking Stirling Mortlock kicked a last minute penalty to win the match for the Aussies.

It was also the last time – prior to Saturday – that they had won in South Africa. First bad omen…

This time, I was given tickets in the stands and nearly missed the opening minutes of the game, having stood in a beer queue for forever. Bad omen number two.

Finally got to the seats with five minutes to go, the anthems were about to be sung and with great gusto, I sang along to Nkosi Sikelela IAfrica with pride. But looking at our team, another bad omen – standing next to our captain was the scrumhalf, his head went up to Big Vic’s shorts. It was a boy against men.

Actually, it must have been the kid that leads the team out ….

The vibe was great and the beer was flowing, the hot sun assisting the effects of the alcohol and I was soon joining in the referee abuse. One big bloke, must have weighed easy 120kgs, had a Springbok jersey with “Os” on it. All his muscles were in his stomach though, seem to have relaxed off his chest thanks to the copious amounts of beer he must have consumed.

He kept shouting abuse at the ref, but the only audible words were “F#$%&#” and “REF” between a litany of curses. I added to his tirade and left with 10 minutes of the first half remaining to find more beer to sooth my vocal cords which had been exercised way more than the usual abuse thrown at the TV.

Once again, the beer queue moved as fast as the toll booth I tend to always look for as the quickest, but finding out that the person in the front is now looking for money, not finding it and arguing with the toll-collector – it was THAT slow. I got back five minutes into the second half (a good 25 minute queue for beer at R15 a go) and it was the same tale of woe.

I was thrilled for Adrian Jacobs, but not for much of the rest of the team. Our lineouts were poor, we took the wrong options and I didn’t see the players putting their hands up.

I was quite taken aback at all the booing of Matfield when he came to give his captain’s speech after the game. This is a crowd clearly gatvol of the man’s leadership skills and general lack of effort. In fact, he was very energetic when it came to questioning every referee’s decision, but aside from that, he is playing the worst rugby of his career.

In all, a disappointing outing from a fan’s perspective with very few shining lights, aside probably from Beast’s performance and Jacobs’ two tries. Oh and the overpriced and warm beer Otherwise, the Boks have a lot of work to do.

There are some that also need to grow some balls (Matfield) and brains (van der Linde). The side is clearly not on top of their game and the skill levels are not at an acceptable International level.

Chatting to mates afterwards, we concluded that the ailing Titanic – AKA the Springbok rugby team – is floundering at sea amongst the ice bergs while the captain is sitting in the pub downstairs telling everyone how great he was last year. Anyone who ever spoke kak about John Smit’s captaincy – stand up and apologise. We are clearly missing him.


  • This is awesome stuff!

  • Comment 1, posted at 25.08.08 10:13:54 by Baldrick Reply
  • @Baldrick (Comment 1) : if you say so yourself!

    Thanks for this, baldie… very good article.

  • Comment 2, posted at 25.08.08 10:19:28 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Baldrick (Comment 1) : Very cool! Nice one.

  • Comment 3, posted at 25.08.08 10:19:35 by molly Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition Winner Author
  • i’d rather pay R15 for a warm beer than pay R15 to watch the Boks. Let alone the R430 suckers had to fork out.

  • Comment 4, posted at 25.08.08 10:27:59 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 4) :

    You’re only a sucker if you have to pay for the match.

    The rest of us buy season tickets 😎

  • Comment 5, posted at 25.08.08 10:50:09 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 5) : Agree. I used my season ticket but what a waste of time!!!!!!!! 👿 👿

  • Comment 6, posted at 25.08.08 10:52:52 by Reds Reply

  • @Reds (Comment 6) :

    No worries that season ticket will include a Sharks v British Lions match next year as well as the option on a Boks v British Lions match 😎

  • Comment 7, posted at 25.08.08 10:54:41 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Nice piece Baldrick.

    Just an observation that pertains specifically to this site.
    Are all the woes of the Springboks due to the captain specifically and then the players secondly, but never due the coaches

  • Comment 8, posted at 25.08.08 11:00:35 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Great article Baldrick…I read it twice.
    Managed to get a few smiles out of this grumpy Bok fan – so kudos to you. 🙂

    After witnessing that disaster in Newlands, where the Boks set a record for the worst rugby performance by a Bok team since I started watching, I thought that record was gonna stay for at least a decade – but to my amazement they managed to break it only a week later. KSA – what was that you said about Usain Bolt breaking his own record in small bits? Can we now expect a more shocking shocker in the next game?

    I reckon these players have forgotten what it feels like to be a Bok fan.
    I propose a lot of changes for the next game…these guys need to watch the game from the stands…maybe they’ll see what we see.

  • Comment 9, posted at 25.08.08 11:06:50 by blackshark Reply

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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 8) :

    In my book leadership of a team is vital. The answer to your question is no.

    I think in this case however it should be Players and captain on level “blame” and then coach and at the TOP of that it should be the management. If the coach is the ONE guy with all the say in the management then he should cop most of the flack.

    At least two of these matches where we started so well would have been won had the Captain noticed when things started to unravel and then taken a moment to settle and rally his players, rather than unravelling as well.

    The Players also need to take some responsability for that though as they are nice and big now and should be able to think for themselves.

    But mostly the management should cop the blame.
    Are they still using the hand, eye coach that is the only women in the world with TWO RWC medals to her name? I can’t recall her name but surely 17 knocks (if WPW’s figure was correct) in one match says they are no longer using her.

    Is Hening Gerecke, the mind coach during the RWC still with the Boks? if not, is he going to be replaced?

    We may not have been the best team at the RWC or the most talented but we did have the most guts, determination and leadership.

    The Guts and determination came from having good leadership. And I mean leadership as in team management and Captain of the team. it seems that management and captain are now gone.

  • Comment 10, posted at 25.08.08 11:14:44 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 10) : Dr Sheyl Calder and no, they arent using her or any other specialist.

  • Comment 11, posted at 25.08.08 11:17:13 by PJLD(RIP Bernie Mac) Reply
  • @blackshark (Comment 9) :

    Can we now expect a more shocking shocker in the next game?

    Seriously, It would NOT surprise me!

    It is very easy to twist into in corkscrew of downward performances when the players lose faith in their leadership (on and of the field) and then in themselves.

    These guys need a good head coach and a great leader to turn things around next week.

  • Comment 12, posted at 25.08.08 11:18:02 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @PJLD(RIP Bernie Mac) (Comment 11) :


    Then that explains it IMO. and my answer to Salmo would be the “blame ladder should be:

    And if the coach was part of that decision process to not use the specialists then he should be included at the top of the management list on that ladder.

  • Comment 13, posted at 25.08.08 11:21:09 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 13) : I think the coach is the one to get rid of the specialists, seeing it was the last coach who got them involved in the first place.

    Anyone remember comments mad by our current coach about players being babied and how it wasn’t going to happen anymore…seem like someone got rid of the kids toys.

  • Comment 14, posted at 25.08.08 11:23:50 by PJLD(RIP Bernie Mac) Reply
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 13) :
    All fair and well, so cant we at least plaese move away from just blaming Matfield – its becoming laboured and boring when he is the only one being singled out. And most importantly he is appointed by the coach and if he is such a crap captain week in and week out then that is more an indicament on the coach who keeps on appointing him than it is on the captain himself.

  • Comment 15, posted at 25.08.08 11:36:20 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • BTW, I am not a huge Matfield fan but to single one guy out and blame him and not others equally for all the woes smacks of bullying.

  • Comment 16, posted at 25.08.08 11:39:16 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 15) : On the day, the coach can do little to influence matters. He has hopefully done the preparation and the players need to do the hard yakka.

    A poor game plan reflects poor coaching. A poorly-executed game plan relfects bad performance by the players.

    I agree that taking quick throw-ins under pressure is mindlessly stupid, and possibly reflective of the game plan. However, the coach has possibly expected too much of the players, that when you play it as you see it (Dick Muir’s philosophy which worked for the Sharks to some degree), you have to assess whether it is on or not.

    The players need to show some composure, to know when to try something. The coach is backing the players to do something different – if it is on – but 1. it must be on and 2. they must do it right.

    We seem to have a problem with players so used to playing one-dimensional rugby, since Under 6 when the biggest kid got the ball and ran over the rest, but at international level, all the kids are big and strong and that old mentality no longer works.

    It’s easy to blame a coach, because there is no way a whole team will get fired. Easier to fire the coach….

  • Comment 17, posted at 25.08.08 11:45:30 by Baldrick Reply

  • @Salmonoid (Comment 15) :

    Point taken.

    The Coach should take a lot of flack for sticking with the non leading Captain.

    And while I understand that for a person to change his personality and character traits overnight, surely Matfield can at least work on some of his short comings.

    Not arguing with the ref
    Being friendly (almost sucking up) to the ref
    staying calm under pressure
    Decision making
    Are all things that CAN be changed in a person, yet matfield had done NONE of that.

    I am sure a John Smit or a Jean De Villiers would have changed the Game plan in the last 20min of the AB test even if it had been against the coach’s gameplan. Matfield who is supposed to be this big burly tight-five player is nothing more than a little puppydog.

    The coach would have been only too happy to walk away with a win rather then give the captain shit for changing the gameplan.

  • Comment 18, posted at 25.08.08 11:46:47 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • it’s a bank holiday here – so I’m off to play in the rain.

    Catch you guys later

  • Comment 19, posted at 25.08.08 11:47:09 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • When things go this wrong, everyone involved in the setup has to accept a certain portion of the blame.


    These are not just WORDS…they are job descriptions…so all these people should ask themselves if they are doing what they are supposed to be doing.

    1.Is management managing the situation? These players look unpassionate and dejected. What are they doing about it?
    2.Is the coach guiding our players to the right direction, accentuating their strengths and helping them to overcome their weaknesses?
    3.Is the captain leading his charges?
    4.Are the players even PLAYING their hearts out or has our team turned to a bunch of scarecrows in Bok jerseys?

  • Comment 20, posted at 25.08.08 11:48:08 by blackshark Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 19) :


  • Comment 21, posted at 25.08.08 11:57:33 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @blackshark (Comment 20) :

    Well said.

  • Comment 22, posted at 25.08.08 11:58:35 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 22) : And while we are still at the blaming game…let me pass some to some (or should I say MOST) of the RSA public who have NEVER given this team any support…but have instead hovered like vultures waiting for the first sign of failure. 👿

  • Comment 23, posted at 25.08.08 12:08:56 by blackshark Reply

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  • @blackshark (Comment 23) :

    too right, that.

  • Comment 24, posted at 25.08.08 12:15:53 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @blackshark (Comment 23) : Just to put this a little bit into perspective. The public are the poor buggers that ultimately PAY for the whole shebang and therefore are at rights to expect and to criticize. Your first points were very valid. 🙂

  • Comment 25, posted at 25.08.08 12:27:17 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver Fox
  • @blackshark (Comment 23) :
    @KSA Shark © (Comment 24) :

    No doubt there are some but the fact the the stadiums are sold out and full of Bok supporters indicates to me, at least, that the money paying rugby public is indeed giving this team a chance and wants to see them perform.
    Now that statement of MOST wanting them to fail must be garnered from some statistics that you have somewhere but it cannot be from the tens of thousands of supporters that have been paying their good money in supporting the Boks. For me they are the majority until I see some other verified statistic to prove otherwise.

  • Comment 26, posted at 25.08.08 12:38:42 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
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  • @Silver Fox (Comment 25) : The public are the poor buggers that ultimately PAY for the whole shebang and therefore at rights to expect and to criticize

    That’s fair enough…but I was talking about people who are quick to criticize without offering any support…or even constructive criticism at that.

  • Comment 27, posted at 25.08.08 13:27:47 by blackshark Reply

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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 26) : some (or should I say MOST) I detect a degree of uncertainty there.

  • Comment 28, posted at 25.08.08 13:43:37 by blackshark Reply

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  • @blackshark (Comment 27) :
    “That’s fair enough…but I was talking about people who are quick to criticize without offering any support…or even constructive criticism at that.”
    But how does that equate to the “MOST of the RSA public” as in your #23 posting.

  • Comment 29, posted at 25.08.08 13:51:26 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 29) : Refer to post 28. I did not say MOST…

    The attendance at both venues has been encouraging…
    The comments/ polls on the streets, blogs, rest of the media…not so much…

    I hope that explains my confusion…

  • Comment 30, posted at 25.08.08 14:02:11 by blackshark Reply

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  • Uncertainty is one thing and will always be there with a new coach. Its a bit harsh calling these people vultures just because they are uncertain.

  • Comment 31, posted at 25.08.08 14:04:43 by Salmonoid Reply
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    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Just seen on my Google Talk chat box…

    “we just have to get used to it” – PdV. used tol losing?

    after Sat I’m actually kinda glad I’m missing the Coke Can game

    i’m gonna try and flog the tickets, so i can atleast re-imburse you

    you make any profit I want half

    profit….not likely
    unless it’s to someone that’s been in space for the last two weeks

    reply from my one friend : “no thanks, there’s a ballet I’d rather go and watch at the civic…I’d rather burn money than go and watch…in fact I’ll almost go as far as to say I’ll pay YOU to go and watch….”


  • Comment 32, posted at 25.08.08 14:05:44 by klempie Reply

  • @Salmonoid (Comment 31) : Uncertain is me…I’m talking about the people who were certain that we won’t make it before the Boks even touched a blade of grass.


  • Comment 33, posted at 25.08.08 14:12:10 by blackshark Reply

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  • Who has misread BS’ comment, me or Salmo, coz i am confused now. 😳

    I read his comment as an indication of his support for PDV and there will be a bunch of nay sayers who have never been happy with PDV’s appointment and have therefore been waiting to jump on any failure and are actually enjoying these losses. EVEN if only to enable them to be able to say “We told you so”

  • Comment 34, posted at 25.08.08 14:16:02 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 34) : I’m one of em! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 35, posted at 25.08.08 14:17:02 by klempie Reply

  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 34) : That’s what I was trying to say…in Zunglish I suppose…

  • Comment 36, posted at 25.08.08 14:26:48 by blackshark Reply

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  • @blackshark (Comment 30) :
    We seem to be responding while the other is commenting on a previous post and thus missing each others most recent post. Ok I must have misread/misundrstood your number 23.

  • Comment 37, posted at 25.08.08 14:42:25 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 37) : 😉

  • Comment 38, posted at 25.08.08 15:06:07 by blackshark Reply

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  • Great piece Balders – thanks for the effort. 😆

  • Comment 39, posted at 25.08.08 21:10:21 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @klempie (Comment 35) : Shame on you! I guess you wanted the dumb Bull instead?

  • Comment 40, posted at 25.08.08 21:17:10 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Agg alteast we were entertained with a few fistfights in the game…

  • Comment 41, posted at 26.08.08 07:39:53 by Nicky Reply

  • @Nicky (Comment 41) : 😯 I thought you only get those in soccer and cricket… 😆

  • Comment 42, posted at 26.08.08 07:49:06 by blackshark Reply

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  • @Nicky (Comment 41) : …but CJ’s WWF tackle was just crazy…

  • Comment 43, posted at 26.08.08 07:50:22 by blackshark Reply

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  • @blackshark (Comment 43) :

    And to think some people pay good money to get DSTV to see that

  • Comment 44, posted at 26.08.08 07:55:33 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©

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