A new low

Written by Morné Nortier (Morné)

Posted in :Original Content on 9 May 2011 at 11:11
Tagged with : , ,

On Friday the rugby romantic in me was awakened after a long slumber, only to be given a strong sedative a couple of hours later.

The necessary evil which is professionalism has all but killed the romance associate with the game of union. The days when blood was spilled on the field only to be washed away with a couple of beers with the transgressors afterwards, is all but a memory.

The days when a team was a brotherhood, and friends were made that would last a lifetime, a rarity.

And the days when the jersey meant more than the paycheque you would receive at the end of the month, lost forever.

It is not often that we get reminded about these kind of days in rugby, but Friday night’s Vodacom Cup semi-final was one of these occasions.

The Pampas XV from Argentina hosted the Sharks XV in their South African adopted home of Potchefstroom in what was for a Vodacom Cup match, a thrilling encounter.

Many forget that these men are the second string outfit from Argentina, a country in which rugby is still very much an amateur sport. With their top boys earning top dollar in Europe, the team that we see in the Vodacom Cup is at best a collection the best club rugby players whom I would bet my house on, all still have day-time jobs back home.

Not only have they progressed to the final of the Vodacom Cup, a professional competition in South Africa, they have not lost a game in the process.

The passion and pride you see in these guys are obvious every time they score a try and after every game they win, and although it might sound unpatriotic, I for one wish that their fairytale season has a happy ending when they play the Blue Bulls in the final.

After they demolished the Sharks XV, I sat wondering how tough this must be for them? They sit for months in a country thousands of kilometres from home, most of whom are possibly on tour for the first time let alone first time visitors to South Africa, playing against professional teams and professional players who compared to what they would be used to, have the best structures and coaching available to them not forgetting earning top dollar for their efforts.

This was amplified when not even an hour later, I sat through one of the most shocking displays of Super rugby I have witnessed in a long time.

As much as the Cheetahs have turned their season around and gave their fans something to feel proud about, the depth of chaos the Lions have fallen to is shocking.

For weeks now I had to listen to comments about the Lions where the lack of quality players are continually highlighted as the biggest reason for their continued failure. What utter rubbish.

There is a case to be made when you are outclassed by a better team on the pitch, and the Lions might not even have a handful of Springboks in their ranks, but a quick glance at the team shows me they have enough seasoned professional players with a number of Currie Cup and Super rugby seasons behind them to give a far better account of themselves than the rubbish they dish up for their fans at the moment.

It is not a case of losing, but how you lose or how you continue to lose because of the same reasons week in and week out.

Millions have been invested into the union, top coaches appointed, and still nothing has changed.

What we do see is a lot of finger-pointing and excuses, and I can just imagine the chaos that must exist in team and management meetings at this union.

Money has changed a lot of things in rugby, but one thing that will never change is having pride in what you do, and the team you play for.

There is nothing wrong with losing to a better team, but giving up, and losing respect and pride for the jersey you are wearing and what and who that represents, is unforgiveable.

The rugby romantic in me might have joined Rip van Winkle again for a long slumber, but at least the Pampas have shown there will always be some things money can never buy.


  • I like these for the team and for pride..

    And its true morne the lions have become the circus of sa won’t buy u heart..only the players can answer to that..

  • Comment 1, posted at 09.05.11 11:14:18 by shaniboi Reply
  • Too true Morne and the long-suffering Lions fans definitely don’t deserve this

  • Comment 2, posted at 09.05.11 11:19:26 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Nice piece Morne ! 😎

  • Comment 3, posted at 09.05.11 11:22:57 by Hertford Highlander Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner Author
    Hertford Highlander
  • Replace lions with Pampas XV 🙂

  • Comment 4, posted at 09.05.11 11:23:31 by Uli Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
    Uli Boelie
  • The Lions were still competitive until a few weeks back but since Mitchell told his players and the public that his players simply weren’t good enough it took away the bit of pride that still existed with the players and they are simply going through the motions now. It’s sad really but again proves that money can’t buy trophies. I had some respect for Mitchell but you can’t expect players to give their hart and soul if your coach tells you that you are simply not good enough. Mitchell finally took away the soul of the Lions players

  • Comment 5, posted at 09.05.11 11:24:31 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Uli (Comment 4) : Now there’s an idea! 🙂

  • Comment 6, posted at 09.05.11 11:24:49 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Great read Morne. So happy I’m not a Lions fan. Have great respect for the Pampas player after reading this. What you say here is so true.

  • Comment 7, posted at 09.05.11 11:25:50 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • I went to the Pub to go watch that game and i must say the Pampas know how to throw a ball around. They have so much energy and creative play it’s outstanding. SA teams can learn a lot from those boys!

  • Comment 8, posted at 09.05.11 11:31:10 by G West Reply
    Competition Winner Author
    G West
  • @Pokkel (Comment 5) : I don’t think that’s true,if someone tells you that you are not good enough the likely reaction you should get is that person wanting to make you eat your words by trying they hardest ever!! If they lost they pride because of that than one has to question they mental strength! And the coach was right to say that because its the truth and they really are lacking heart! When I was in school 2 and half years ago we entered a rugby competition and it was the first time our school had a rugby team,there were 5 matches we lost every one of those matches bt the crowd suported us coz we gave our all!! The eventual winners of it were st benedicts school and we played them last during our round robin fixture and we lost 5-3 to them,nobody had scored a single point against them till that point,what I’m trying to say is the players themselvs have to decide weather they want it bad enough or not,P.S the following year we won that competition beating st benedicts 53-0

  • Comment 9, posted at 09.05.11 11:39:34 by Poisy Reply
  • Thanks Morne, good stuf to read man…

  • Comment 10, posted at 09.05.11 11:43:34 by franshark Reply
  • Yes it was an entertaining game, and hats off to the papajas 🙂

  • Comment 11, posted at 09.05.11 11:44:26 by franshark Reply
  • @Poisy (Comment 9) : That is a nice story and congrats…..but the Lions situation is a bit different….I’m sure your team’s coach and fans didn’t give up on you but motivated you to greater heights.

    I your coach tells the headmaster that his players are useless and that he wants better players it’s a different situation I think.

  • Comment 12, posted at 09.05.11 11:44:42 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • Still a bid confused, for the reason that we were one of the better teams in the comp, but ended up playing wp and pampas in quarter and semi, where as for the bulls being lucky to reach the quarter because another team got penalised, and then get to play lions and griekwas.. Now in the final

  • Comment 13, posted at 09.05.11 11:51:35 by franshark Reply
  • @Pokkel (Comment 12) : we didn’t have a field or rugby posts so we played every game away,so we had no supporters we just won them over wherever we played,but yes its not the same thing but the players are professionals and they should give they all on that field even if they lose!,and we are not seeing that,regardless what anybody says about you ,you should want to prove yourself,so what if the coach wants new players!,show him his got good players in front of him! And that’s what I’m getting at! They lack self motivation they need to stop thinkin about what evrybody is saying and start listening to they hearts and decide if they wanna be there,and if not than they need to leave

  • Comment 14, posted at 09.05.11 11:53:57 by Poisy Reply
  • @franshark (Comment 13) : Sharks XV ended 3rd in the section. Not that confusing really. 🙂

  • Comment 15, posted at 09.05.11 11:57:36 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Ben (Comment 15) : I actually know, but just had to get some frustration of my chest, 🙁 can not believe the bulls is in the final and we’re not, c

  • Comment 16, posted at 09.05.11 12:05:12 by franshark Reply
  • Sharks fans were blinded by the fact that our team was beaten but the Pampas XV story really is a great one. I said in my review that they are really a credit to their country.

  • Comment 17, posted at 09.05.11 12:07:56 by war1 Reply
  • These Argentines are quite a passionate bunch. Remember them crying before each RWC cape in 07 and also after they lost. I do wish them well this year in NZ and hope they can win cause a few upsets

  • Comment 18, posted at 09.05.11 12:20:26 by Mocho Reply

  • Good read Morne.. Thank you for that!

  • Comment 19, posted at 09.05.11 12:26:22 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard Ferguson
  • Hear! Hear! :mrgreen:
    Go Pampas!!

  • Comment 20, posted at 09.05.11 13:24:55 by Jarson (AddicteD) Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner

Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.