Richard Ferguson

Peter de Villiers vs The Form Book


Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Original Content, Springboks, Super Rugby on 3 May 2011 at 14:32
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With the Springbok 51 man training squad announcement taking place last week and seeing a whole lot of regular starting Boks in there with no real reward for those individuals that have been outstanding so far this season, I started doing some comparison as to who will most likely be selected and who, on current form, should be donning the Green and Gold.

1.It’s difficult to call exactly what Peter de Villiers is going to do with regards to John Smit, but lets assume that Bismarck will be starting hooker and John will play loosehead. The Beast Mtawarira is most certainly the form loosehead at the moment, with Coenie Oosthuizen not far behind him. Mtawarira is most likely to be in the 30 man squad to go to the World Cup, but Coenie might just miss out.

2.In line with assumptions made above, de Villiers will stick Bismarck in the hooker jersey for the World Cup. He is one of few players that actually is in some decent form at the moment, even though he is coming back from injury. Chiliboy Ralepelle is another of de Villiers’ favourites. Of the form players at the moment, Deon Fourie has to be given a mention as one of the better hookers in the tournament so far.

3.At tighthead South Africa as a whole, do not have a lot of great 3’s running around. Jannie du Plessis was the player preferred by de Villiers during last year, and is most likely going to be the choice at the World Cup. Jannie is in decent form, but there is a lot of talk surrounding Brian Mujati, who is apparently in the form of his life. In South Africa though, we have Brock Harris and Werner Kruger that is in pretty good form.

4.The first of the locks will almost certainly go to Bakkies Botha. On current form though, there has only really been one stand out four in the year so far, and that is Rynhardt Elstadt. Bakkies himself is not in bad form, and his discipline has improved somewhat from previous years. Other than Elstadt though, we seem to have a real shortage of four locks post World Cup.

5.Victor Matfield was yesterday handed the vice captaincy which secured his selection at five, if it was ever in jeopardy to start with. He has been in good form for the Bulls, but he has been overshadowed by a certain Andries Bekker, who has been in sensational form so far, outshining his Bulls counterpart in a match recently. Bekker will most likely go along to the World Cup, but I cannot see him getting that much in the form of game time.

6.This is one of those hotly contested positions where de Villiers will have to scratch his head a bit, with Schalk Burger and Heinrich Brussouw both having donned this jersey in recent times. At this stage Schalk seems to be the favourite to take the cake, and he has been is some good form lately. Brussouw is still on the comeback trail, and even though he has been showing signs of brilliance, Schalk will be seen as more of a leader going into the World Cup. Other than these two, Keegan Daniel has shown consistent good form, but it is highly unlikely that de Villiers will leave his favoured Deon Steggman at home.

7.Juan Smith is in the race of his life to get fit in time to take the seven jersey to the World Cup, and should he manage that, it will be interesting to see how our coach handles the situation. Dewald Potgieter took over from Smith when the latter was injured, but the coach will have to somehow make space for the in form Willem Alberts. The Bone Collector had an impressive debut tour at the end of last season, and has subsequently stepped up against Super opposition. An interesting conundrum awaits, especially if you include Francois Louw in this debate.

8.The last of the forwards and we see another Bulls player in Pierre Spies already chosen as the eighthman for the Boks at the World Cup, especially after missing the previous one. But on form, one has to look to the coastal teams and find that Duane Vermeulen and Ryan Kankowski are pushing hard to make name before the final squad is selected. Another form player, although not previously ever in contention with the Springboks, is Warren Whiteley, who has been a stand out player for the Lions this season so far.

9.de Villiers is very likely to revert back to Fourie du Preez as his first choice scrumhalf for the World Cup, after missing out on the end of year tour due to injury. Francois Hougaard played really well in his absence last year, but has not seen much game time in that position so far this year at the Bulls. The only scrumhalf to really shine so far this year is Sarel Pretorius, who is surely in the form of his life, but it is difficult to see him making squad purely as he has never been in the running before. Dewaldt Duvenhage has been in some good form for the Cape side as well, and deserves a mention. One has to wonder whether Ruan Pienaar will be mentioned during the Tri Nations and World Cup talks.

10.Morne Steyn will be the name pencilled into the flyhalf position on de Villiers’ team sheet. Even though Steyn had a great game this last weekend, his overall play for the year to date has not been fantastic, and he seems to be the third best flyhalf in the country based on form. Peter Grant and Pat Lambie are the front runners on form, and we can expect our coach to lean towards Grant as he is older and has more experience. Both these players will be pushing hard to be included in the Tri Nations squad to somehow try swing the coach in their favour.

11.The 2007 World Cup player of the tournament Bryan Habana will surely be de Villiers’ choice when it comes to the World Cup, but looking at the form shown so far in the year, there are a few names that come to mind. Lwazi Mvovo for one, has been in good form for the Sharks, along with Michael Killian from the Lions. It is hard to see any of these replacing Habana in either the Tri Nations or for the World Cup.

12.One of few positions where the coach favourite is also the clear form player for the year, and we all know that Jean de Villiers is in amazing form at the moment. If you look beyond the obvious though and look for backups, you will find Doppies la Grange is probably the best 12 behind Jean. Another coach favourite, Wynand Olivier, has been in atrocious form and even though he scored twice this weekend, seems to not know how to keep the ball from dropping to the ground.

13.I hope and pray that this centre combination is fit and healthy come World Cup, and Jacque Fourie is in the same type of form as Jean de Villiers. Should these two play, I can see our Green and Gold boys scoring a few tries. Behind Fourie, you again see a whole lot of nothingness, with Stormers counterpart Juan de Jongh and Waylon Murray the other 13’s to shine so far this year.

14.Back to the wingers and I am indecisive as to who Peter de Villiers will choose between JP Pietersen and Bjorn Basson. JP is stronger and his defence is very good, yet Bjorn can outrun a Bugatti and is the best in the business under the high ball. Both of these players have been in decent form and it is a pleasure that we have good wingers to choose from. Apart from these two, Odwa has shown that he is still a great player even though he has lost some of his pace, and Gio Aplon is a nice to have on the wing as he can cover the fullback position.

15.And so we come to the bottom of the team sheet, and here we have an interesting situation. The coach will almost certainly select our dear friend Frans Steyn at fullback in the World Cup, purely because he cannot possibly have him in the centres. I have no idea in what sort of form Fransie is in, but over here we have Louis Ludik who is playing fantastic rugby week in and week out. Conrad Jantjies is also back from injury and will be pushing hard to be seen. Another player, although extremely young, is Jaco Taute, who seems to have fallen out of favour with John Mitchell at the Lions as he now keeps the bench warm.

So here are the teams:

Peter de Villiers:

1.John Smit
2.Bismarck du Plessis
3.Jannie du Plessis
4.Bakkies Botha
5.Victor Matfield
6.Schalk Burger
7.Juan Smith
8.Pierre Spies
9.Fourie du Preez
10.Morne Steyn
11.Bryan Habana
12.Jean de Villiers
13.Jacque Fourie
14.JP Pietersen
15.Frans Steyn

Richard Ferguson (based on current form):

1.Beast Mtawarira
2.Bismarck du Plessis
3.Brian Mujati
4.Rynhardt Elstadt
5.Andries Bekker
6.Schalk Burger
7.Willem Alberts
8.Ryan Kankowski
9.Sarel Pretorius
10.Peter Grant
11.JP Pietersen
12.Jean de Villiers
13.Jacque Fourie
14.Bjorn Basson
15.Louis Ludik


48 Comments

  • This is a bit of a Morne-length article.. Sorry..

  • Comment 1, posted at 03.05.11 14:36:57 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 1) :

    Not nearly long enough buddy!

  • Comment 2, posted at 03.05.11 14:40:09 by Morné Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 2) :

    By my standards, anything more than 500 words is LONG!!

  • Comment 3, posted at 03.05.11 14:40:54 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • We written Richard.

    I would add Guthro in there as well. Apparently he”ll be back before the end of the SR season. I wouldn’t mind seeing Eugene van Staden in the mix.He is one of the few props in SA that scrums well at both LH and TH

  • Comment 4, posted at 03.05.11 14:41:35 by Pokkel Reply
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  • As far as picking form XV’s go, you can never do that imo.

    You take out of the equation some of the most vital ingredients you need for a team to be successful, some of those being combinations and how well they compliment one another, and two, experience which is vital at test level and vital that debutants are introduced to this level with the relative comfort of experience around them.

    Its fun nonetheless.

  • Comment 5, posted at 03.05.11 14:42:34 by Morné Reply
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    Morné
     
  • @Pokkel (Comment 4) :

    A call will be made on Gurthro today whether he is ready to take contact.

  • Comment 6, posted at 03.05.11 14:43:25 by Morné Reply
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    Morné
     
  • @Morné (Comment 5) :

    I hear what you are saying Morne, and you are so right..

    But its interesting to see how many of the certainties in the World Cup squad are actually on form..

  • Comment 7, posted at 03.05.11 14:44:29 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 7) :

    There is one player that always plays at a different level at Bok level than what he does at provincial level for me.

    JP Pietersen.

    If fit, I will always select him at test level, he just switches on for some strange reason.

  • Comment 8, posted at 03.05.11 14:46:02 by Morné Reply
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    Morné
     
  • @Pokkel (Comment 4) :
    @Morné (Comment 6) :

    I though about him, but I was not sure what to make of it to be honest.

    Good that he might be back soon..

  • Comment 9, posted at 03.05.11 14:46:03 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 8) :

    You will see that I have put him in at 14 for the de Villiers team, so that Habana is in, but at 14 in my team..

    He plays both positions equally well, and is an asset to the team..

  • Comment 10, posted at 03.05.11 14:47:26 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 5) :

    If you haven’t noticed, I tried to keep some combinations together..

    Note the locks, front row and centres.

    The nine/ten was impossible to select a current combination..

  • Comment 11, posted at 03.05.11 14:49:56 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 11) :
    I like your team but I would change the following
    Burger to 7
    Alberts to 8
    Brussow to 6

    Sarel Pretorius is to big a liability in defense and has the occasional brain fart. Probably Ruan or Fourie(if he regains form.)

  • Comment 12, posted at 03.05.11 14:54:09 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 12) :

    I didn’t think of that loose forward combination to be honest..

    The thing is, Burger at 7 has no form as he has not played there, so it will be contrary to what I was trying to say.

    But that combo for the Tri Nations should work a charm!

  • Comment 13, posted at 03.05.11 14:56:09 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 12) :

    As for Pretorius..

    All I can say is that no other scrummie really stood out for me so far, except maybe Duvenhage, who has been good.

  • Comment 14, posted at 03.05.11 14:56:58 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 1) : Heh-heh.

  • Comment 15, posted at 03.05.11 15:03:27 by CapeShark Reply
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    The Great Couch Shark
     
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 14) : on form you’re right.

    I would love to see that combo. I think Alberts is most effective at 8 even though he hasn’t played there recently. Schalk has played a couple of games for the Boks at 7 and he did well. I just don’t want a team without a specialist fetcher and wouldn’t leave Brussow out.

    Those 3 together will be the real deal IMHO

  • Comment 16, posted at 03.05.11 15:10:00 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 16) :

    Couldn’t agree more if I tried!!

  • Comment 17, posted at 03.05.11 15:11:40 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • No Stefan Terblanche…

  • Comment 18, posted at 03.05.11 15:12:02 by Charlie Reply

    Charlie
     
  • @Charlie (Comment 18) :

    He wont see the inside of a Springbok changing room unless he becomes a fitness coach or something..

  • Comment 19, posted at 03.05.11 15:14:13 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • Rich, there is also Flip v d Merwe as #4 backup after bakkies. After that tho…

  • Comment 20, posted at 03.05.11 15:20:04 by molly Reply
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  • @molly (Comment 20) :

    How has Wilhelm Steenkamp been doing??

    And lets not forget Danie PK Rossouw!! 😉

  • Comment 21, posted at 03.05.11 15:23:54 by wpw Reply
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    wpw
     
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 14) : I have to be honest, I am no Dewaldt fan, he is very average. He’s better than Januarie (at most things, not everything) but that REALLY shouldn’t be a benchmark.

  • Comment 22, posted at 03.05.11 15:25:06 by molly Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 11) : nice article and team Rich, but in my honest opinion, i would start with Aphlon at fullback. He`s got pace, he tackles, good under the high ball and gives the opposition something to thing about on the counter. Oh yes, and he can drop… 😈

    and i have to agree with pokkel on the 6 Brussouw, 7 Burger and 8 Alberts trio.

    and mark my words, deysel will be in the reckoning come the end of the tri-nations.

  • Comment 23, posted at 03.05.11 15:26:35 by VanWilder Reply

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  • @wpw (Comment 21) : danie isn’t a junior anymore Wes, but we might need him to handover to a junior.

    Which one is Wilhelm? Cheetah boy?

  • Comment 24, posted at 03.05.11 15:28:53 by molly Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 21) : geez, someones whos also unlucky is Anton van Zyl…

  • Comment 25, posted at 03.05.11 15:30:12 by VanWilder Reply

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  • @Pokkel (Comment 12) : @VanWilder (Comment 23) : I agree with the loose trio, although I still had Juan Smith in at 7, with Brussouw on the bench. I think Alberts and Burger can be interchangeable at 8 depending on the circumstances.

    There’s no doubt Alberts brings what Spies has plus more, so I hope the powers that be have the balls to think out the box a bit like Kitch Christie did in 1995.

    How about Butch at 10 with Morne Steyn at 15 or on the bench to cover 10 & 15?

    I’ve no doubt Fourie DuPreez will step up for the WC, so really only looking for a reserve, in which case I thought Hougaard would bring more flexibility on the bench, covering 9 and 14?

    I think we’re weak at lock, especially since PDV will pick experience here over form!

  • Comment 26, posted at 03.05.11 16:29:36 by CS Reply

    CS
     
  • Here’s my team:

    1 Beast
    2 Bismark
    3 Guthro
    4 Matfield
    5 Bekker
    6 Schalk
    7 Juan
    8 Alberts
    9 DuPreez
    10 Butch
    11 Basson
    12 JDV
    13 Fourie
    14 Aplon
    15 Frans Steyn

    16 John Smit
    17 Jannie DuPlessis
    18 Bakkies
    19 Brussouw
    20 Hougaard
    21 Juan De Jongh
    22 Morne Steyn

  • Comment 27, posted at 03.05.11 16:35:42 by CS Reply

    CS
     
  • @CS (Comment 27) : I think the team above has the right mix of “experience” and “form”, and where form trumps experience at least the experience is on the bench.

  • Comment 28, posted at 03.05.11 16:37:39 by CS Reply

    CS
     
  • I really doubt John will be used as a loosehead for The Boks. Bissie will sit on the bench. Just read what P.divvy has been saying for the past month or so, he only sees Smit as a hooker.

    What i think the team will be come World Cup Final against The Aussies.

    1.Beast
    2.Smit (C)
    3.J Du Plessis
    4.Bakkies
    5.Matfield
    6.Burger/Brussouw
    7.Juan Smith
    8.Spies
    9.Du Preez
    10.M. Steyn
    11.Habana
    12.JDV
    13.Jaque Fourie
    14.JPP
    15.Frans Steyn

    16.Bissie
    17.Steenkamp
    18.Mujati
    19.Andries Bekker
    20.Brussouw/Burger
    21.Francois Hougaard/Ruan Pienaar
    22.Patrick Lambie

    Unlucky Guys-
    Alberts and Basson…personally i would love Both to be involved. We will see what happens.

  • Comment 29, posted at 03.05.11 16:58:07 by JJR Reply
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  • @CS (Comment 27) : Steenkamp at tighthead??????? C’mon…we on a rugby site. 🙂 😆

    The team i think will be Best.

    1.Beast
    2.Smit (C)
    3.J.Du Plessis
    4.Bakkies
    5.Matfield
    6.Brussouw
    7.Smith
    8.Spies
    9.Du Preez
    10.M.Steyn
    11.Basson
    12.JDV
    13.Fourie
    14.JPP
    15.F.Steyn

    16.Bissie
    17.Mujati
    18.Bekker
    19.Alberts
    20.Hougaard/R. Pienaar
    21.Lambie
    22.J.De Jongh.

    Really difficult to choose a 22; so many world class quality guys to choose from. A Nice headache to have.

  • Comment 30, posted at 03.05.11 17:09:22 by JJR Reply
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  • @molly (Comment 20) :

    I thought about Flip van der Merwe, but he hasn’t been getting a lot of game time.

    But you are completely right that he is there post World Cup

  • Comment 31, posted at 03.05.11 17:48:28 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 21) :

    Wilhelm is okay.. but nothing special to be honest..

    As for Danie-saurus.. he is almost a deadset for the squad because of his versatility.. Not my favourite player to be honest..

  • Comment 32, posted at 03.05.11 17:49:57 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @molly (Comment 22) :

    I agree about Duvenhage..

    He is no superstar, but he is consistent..

    We are short in that department as well if you think beyond the World Cup..

  • Comment 33, posted at 03.05.11 17:51:29 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @molly (Comment 24) :

    Steenkamp is the Cheetahs five..

  • Comment 34, posted at 03.05.11 17:52:26 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @CS (Comment 26) :

    Steyn at 15 will be a disaster..

    Butch is not what we need at flyhalf for the World Cup, he will have to have a storming Tri Nations to outplay Grant or Lambie, even to get ahead of Steyn at this stage..

  • Comment 35, posted at 03.05.11 17:54:33 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @CS (Comment 27) :

    How do you get Matfield in at 4? He has never worn that jersey dude..

  • Comment 36, posted at 03.05.11 17:55:35 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @JJR (Comment 30) :

    So you really leave out Alberts in your own team?

  • Comment 37, posted at 03.05.11 17:56:51 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • Some decent teams posted.
    I think Burger at 6 is a must based on his experience and never say die attitude. Smith at 7 if available, play Burger there with Brussow at 6 and Alberts at 7.
    What do you think Rich?

  • Comment 38, posted at 03.05.11 18:27:08 by wpw Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 38) :

    I think it could work bud..

    But will the Spies ever not be in that trio?!

  • Comment 39, posted at 03.05.11 18:33:01 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @JJR (Comment 30) : How about a Cape Town flavour?

    Frans, Aplon, Jaque, Jean, Habana, Steyn, Sarel, Alberts, Smith would he even be available? otherwise Spies and Alberts, Big Vic, Bakkies, Brussouw, BJ Botha or Jannie, Smit and Beast.

    Also starring : Bismarck, CJ, Daan, Schalk, FdP, Peter Grant, Juan de Jongh.

  • Comment 40, posted at 03.05.11 18:44:00 by Original Pierre Reply
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    Original Pierre
     
  • Thanks Rich, a great thought-provoker.
    I hear what you say about Grant, even though my heart and soul says “Lambie”. I just hope with John as cappie at least PDV will see the sense in including SuperPat in a 22 and actually playing him at 10 and not 12 or 15. He’s not going to get World Cup experience any other way and we need to look ahead another four years…

  • Comment 41, posted at 03.05.11 19:14:29 by SharonvanWyk Reply
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    Shaz
     
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 37) : hi rich, I see that jj said “I think the best” so I also understand that’s one he would pick, but it most prob would be close to Pdv chose

  • Comment 42, posted at 03.05.11 19:31:08 by franshark Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 12) : I love that combo, but not many seem to agree.

  • Comment 43, posted at 03.05.11 20:16:47 by McLovin Reply

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  • I notice there is no Zane Kirchner at 15. Even though I think he’s utterly shit and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I think Pdiv will take Krusty to the WC.

  • Comment 44, posted at 03.05.11 22:16:39 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 44) : hope not

  • Comment 45, posted at 03.05.11 22:25:09 by franshark Reply
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  • @franshark (Comment 45) : Franna, I pray not!

  • Comment 46, posted at 03.05.11 22:30:47 by Ben Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 36) : Sorry Mr Pedantic :mrgreen: … Matfield at 5, Bekker at 4

  • Comment 47, posted at 05.05.11 13:31:55 by CS Reply

    CS
     
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 32) : Alberts could easily become that person!

  • Comment 48, posted at 05.05.11 13:32:35 by CS Reply

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