Big Fish

Look out: here comes Magic Johnson!

Written by (Big Fish)

Posted in :Cheetahs, Original Content, RWC 2011, Springboks on 30 May 2011 at 15:29

Amidst all the existing loose forward talent in SA, it almost seems superfluous to mention the mop-haired Ashley Johnson. After all, this WP Craven Week player, who also captained Paarl Gimnasium as a junior, was overlooked by his home province, languished playing for the Griffons for a while, and first came to light at the Cheetahs when selected as a hooker by Naka Drotske, who thought him too short and heavy to play 8th man.

Certainly, at 1.84 and 110kg, “willowy” is not a term often used to describe the rhinoceros-like Free Stater. at first glance he certainly looks like a hooker, or at least a player suited for the tight exchanges, and less at home running in space or linking with the backs. And of course, this impression is completely wrong! Johnson has steadily established himself in a resurgent Cheetahs team thanks to consistent performances in which he has shone in just about every way, short of stealing line-out ball (so maybe Drotske wasn’t completely wrong).

While he is a powerful defender and attacker in amongst the big boys, its Johnson’s speed, vision and handling that really gets the pulse racing, given how unlikely a figure he appears. He has shown the ability to run good lines from deep, which sets him apart from other ball-carrying loose forwards in SA, who tend to take the ball flat and head straight for contact. This means that he often makes clean line breaks or at least is able to free his hands for the off-load – which is again not in character for the typical SA loosie.

I for one believe that there a huge number of loosies in contention for this WC, but history dictates that those who have done it before cannot be ignored – if fit, Schalk Burger, Juan Smit and Danie Rossouw are all musts for the tourney. Outside of these, Willem Alberts, Pierre Spies, Heinrich Brussouw, Ryan Kankowski and Keegan Daniel also have strong claims to press, having done enough to wear the Green and Gold in the past. However, Johnson need not be shy to stake his claim against any of these latter players, and I for one am thoroughly enjoying his play at the moment – particularly plays such as the stunning try where his pace caught the speedy Bjorn Basson by surprise on Saturday night.


  • Ashley Johnson has toured with the boks before, just FYI…

  • Comment 1, posted at 30.05.11 15:33:37 by The Quirk Reply
    The Quirk
  • This big boy is FAST. I was surprised that Basson couldn’t catch him. Really enjoying watching the Cheetah’s playing at the moment.

  • Comment 2, posted at 30.05.11 15:34:43 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • Juan Smith 😉

  • Comment 3, posted at 30.05.11 15:36:20 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Well said Fish..

  • Comment 4, posted at 30.05.11 15:36:30 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard Ferguson
  • Basson would have caught him had he not been handed off.

  • Comment 5, posted at 30.05.11 15:37:07 by McLovin Reply

  • I read somewhere that Johnson actually said with his mind off the RWC now (that he did not make the 51 man squad), he can actually just focus on his game and enjoy it…

    he is playing like a demon lately!

  • Comment 6, posted at 30.05.11 15:44:15 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • Loosies in SA are like prostitutes around the point/wheel

    All World Class

    1. Juan smith
    2. Schalk
    3. Brussow
    4. Spies
    5. Alberts
    6. Vermuelen
    7. Deysel
    8. Daniel
    9. Johnson
    10. Flo
    11. Danie
    12. Kanko

    Bubbling under
    Josh Strauss
    Pieter Louw
    Many many more

    Wish we made some of them CENTRES

  • Comment 7, posted at 30.05.11 15:49:45 by chucky Reply

  • apologies for my simile ladies 😳

  • Comment 8, posted at 30.05.11 15:51:41 by chucky Reply

  • He also played for the Southern Spears 😈

  • Comment 9, posted at 30.05.11 15:59:34 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • @chucky (Comment 7) : Now there’s an idea!

  • Comment 10, posted at 30.05.11 16:05:05 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @The Quirk (Comment 1) :
    I know – but who has been mentioning his name as a possibility for the WC?

  • Comment 11, posted at 30.05.11 16:10:35 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • Good read Feeesh! 😉
    I rate Ashley higher than most cart-horse 8th men (Duane Vermeulen is one of them). 😈

  • Comment 12, posted at 30.05.11 19:21:56 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 12) :
    You and me both compadre!

  • Comment 13, posted at 30.05.11 20:02:46 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • Do you remember me asking what the hell did Ashley do wrong to not get selected in the 51 man squad. I got hammered!

  • Comment 14, posted at 30.05.11 20:32:55 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Clayton(PJLD) (Comment 9) : yep he was our captain!!!!! 😈

  • Comment 15, posted at 30.05.11 21:00:30 by Megatron Reply


    Daniel “Duxy” Philander 15
    Gershom “Ramaz” Ramazan 14
    Baldwin “Bizza” McBean 13
    Rienhard “Sophie” Gerber 12
    Luvo “Luvo” Sogidashe 11
    Is-Ma’eel “Dols” Dollie 10
    Warren “Wakkie” Malgas 9
    Ashley “Jonny” Johnson captain 8
    Devon “Bull” Raubenheimer 7
    Maurice Reid 6
    Hein “Hein” Potgieter 5
    Marius “Mossie” Mostert 3
    Ashton “Koppe” Constant 2
    Petros “Mbuso” Methula 1

    Wayne “Biscuit” Bennett 16
    Lonwabolwethu “Black Man” Mtimka 17
    Anton “Brood” van der Westhuizen 18
    Kaunda “Bav” Ntunja 20
    Lian “Lian” Combrinck 21
    Vakalisile Nako 22
    Basil “Kurt Angle” De Donker 23
    Vusumzi “Babs” Mbulali 24
    Ashwin “Scottie” Scott 25
    Spencer Wakeling

    Relton Hermanus (Manager)
    Peter De Villiers (Coach)
    Dr Konrad von Hagen (Doctor)
    Wayne Damons & Vera Hierholzer Physio’s
    Johan Lerm (Assistant Coach)
    Dumisani Mhani(Assistant Coach)

  • Comment 16, posted at 30.05.11 21:17:53 by Megatron Reply

  • Mega
    Did u know Ashton Constant played age group rugby for WP?? Never got a real chance. He is a solid performer.
    What ever happened to Warren Malgas?? He was quite decent… 🙄

  • Comment 17, posted at 30.05.11 21:36:23 by wpw Reply
  • @Megatron (Comment 16) : Sad that the coaching staff didn’t have nicknames 😥 🙂

  • Comment 18, posted at 30.05.11 21:50:09 by beet Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @wpw (Comment 17) : tbh i don’t know what happened to those okes mate…willl try and find out from kaunda.

  • Comment 19, posted at 30.05.11 21:50:35 by Megatron Reply

  • @wpw (Comment 17) : He was a hooker wasn’t he, Weasel?

    Mega, you guys should have held onto Johnson – what happened?

  • Comment 20, posted at 30.05.11 21:54:40 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Comment 20) : Ask the Master of the Court and the Liquidators

  • Comment 21, posted at 30.05.11 22:03:18 by beet Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @beet (Comment 21) :

  • Comment 22, posted at 30.05.11 22:06:59 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Comment 20) : we got f*cked by SARU! The unions who were @ risk of losing super rugby status influence election/re-election of presidents etc, the exerted pressure and SARU went back on a ratified Presidents Council decision that the Spears will accommodated in the S14.

    SARU ended up buying out Border & SWD, and after becoming major shareholders, out-manouvred EP and unbundled the Spears franchise. Bang!

  • Comment 23, posted at 30.05.11 22:07:01 by Megatron Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 23) :
    The Eastern Cape is gonna get its chance – and many on this site are holding thumbs that they make it.

    So much talent (in rugby, but in fields as wide as politics and business too) originates there but can only flourish elsewhere because of lack of opportunity. Its high time they got a shot, but corruption and mismanagement is going to be a real concern.

    Nothing against a team like the Lions, but if they continually prop up the bottom of the log despite their “pedigree”, then the Spears aren’t really a bigger risk.

    So write us some pieces about the Eastern Cape players and scene – help the movement build some momentum.

  • Comment 24, posted at 30.05.11 22:14:26 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • I remember that very clearly. Tony McKeever was very involved with the Spears at the time. SARU lost a court case as well (with costs) but still they managed to get out their agreement with the Spears!

  • Comment 25, posted at 30.05.11 22:16:44 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 25) : Ah yes, how could I forget. Remember the dinner at Grandwest that he invited folks for to publicise the Spears?

    The whole episode was a sad farce for SA rugby.

  • Comment 26, posted at 30.05.11 22:22:51 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Megatron (Comment 23) : It seemed like justice served. A fly-by-night with a few connections in high places at one point wanted something they hadn’t earned and didn’t deserve.
    The Sharks were the Union at the greatest risk of losing S12 status at one stage coz things weren’t going well under Putt.

    It was happy ending to a pathetic story.

  • Comment 27, posted at 30.05.11 22:23:14 by beet Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @beet (Comment 27) : ‘earned’ & ‘deserved’ are very subjective terms and i’m not in the mood.

  • Comment 28, posted at 30.05.11 22:47:41 by Megatron Reply

  • @Big Fish (Comment 26) : How can you speak so ill of our first date 😈

  • Comment 29, posted at 31.05.11 08:34:22 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • Yoh, Baldwin McBean. – Brood vd Westhuizen played a few games for Hamiltons and WP.Johan Lerm was also the Hammies coach and I think is now with SWD

  • Comment 30, posted at 31.05.11 08:40:28 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • @Clayton(PJLD) (Comment 29) :

    Our first date? I thought it was yours with a certain tannie. She looked she was gonna rub you down with honey and sesame seeds and devour you from the curl on your head to your little tippy-toes.

    When are we having our next “date”? You have become a snob of late – tell Xtal I said so. 😉

  • Comment 31, posted at 31.05.11 08:40:33 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Comment 31) : 😆 😆 I just vomited in my mouth.


  • Comment 32, posted at 31.05.11 08:42:31 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • @Clayton(PJLD) (Comment 32) :
    Let’s make a plan to meet soon: we can invite those 2 Northerners too – if the ossewa-laan is clear on the day.

  • Comment 33, posted at 31.05.11 08:46:31 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Comment 33) : Deal

  • Comment 34, posted at 31.05.11 08:47:48 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply

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