Culling Song

Perspectives From Another Dimension

Written by André Meyer (Culling Song)

Posted in :Original Content, Reader Submissions, Sharks, Super Rugby on 4 Jun 2011 at 08:35
Tagged with : , , ,

Hey guys ‘n gals, Culling Song here. Apologies for the rather obtuse post title, but well, it’s been kind of a weird few days, and the title is a reflection of that. But regardless, let me dispense with the cryptic mumbo-jumbo and the “it was a dark and stormy night” melodrama and cut to the chase.

A few days ago I was cooking up a big bowl of happiness in my private drug lab in the back yard, minding my own business, when, due to an unfortunate confluence of events, I fell into a vat of liquid LSD, dragging an electric heater in with me in the process. Somewhat surprisingly, rather than meeting my demise in a conflagration of sparks and burning flesh, some sort of portal opened, I fell through it, and I ended up… well, I’m not actually exactly sure where this is.

What I can gather is that I am in some sort of parallel dimension, which, on the face of it, is pretty similar to the earth I know. Having said that, there are also some subtle differences; over here, Americans are well-informed and health conscious, McDonalds produces edible food, France leads the way in the fight for gender equality, Beyonce is universally derided for being a shrill, annoying tart, and Australia is a barren, cultural wasteland… OK, scratch that last one. But basically, the world is a slightly gentler, fairer place.

With regards to SA, it seems pretty much as I know it; the same vibe, same amusing/amazing political landscape, same socio-economic challenges (just now with edible McDonalds!) More importantly though, this world seems to be about 24 hours ahead of my home dimension, with the result that I have just witnessed the Sharks dismantling the Cheetahs to the tune of 43 – 12. And the best part is that I managed to bluff my way into the post-match press conference, and actually got John Plumtree to field a couple of questions, the transcripts which I’ll post below.

(Interestingly, my iPhone seems to still be linked to home base; I know the stability of Apple’s operating systems is much vaunted, but cross-dimensional connectivity… Steve Jobs, take a bow. I’d like to see any of you Blackberry neophytes do *this* with BBM!)

Alternative Sharks World: So John, you must have been pleased with your team’s performance?

Alternative John Plumtree: Yeah, you know, it would be fair to say that we were under a fair amount of pressure going into this game, so it was good to see the boys respond to the pressure by stepping up and delivering the type of performance you’d expect from a potential championship contender. It’s probably a game or two later than I’d have liked, but we seem to be hitting our straps at the right time.

Of course, the other aspect is putting to bed this whole “Cheetahs is the Sharks’ bogey team” myth; I mean, we’ve been beating them pretty consistently for the last while, but it’s like all the journalists have the same Starter Kit for Rugby Writers app. Plug in the teams, and it generates the obligatory phrases to use in your articles. So while I don’t really expect this victory to improve the quality of journalism over here, it does sweeten the victory a little.

ASW: I hear you. Tell me a bit about the strategy you employed, particularly regarding team selection, which differed somewhat from what we’ve grown used to over the last while, going into this game.

AJP: I guess we did surprise a few folks with some of the selections, but we, the coaching staff, decided we needed to think outside the box, and utilize some outside help, if we were to inject some energy into our campaign.

ASW: Outside help? Sounds interesting…

AJP: Yeah. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the term “blog”? It was pretty new to me.

ASW: I’ve heard of it, yes…

AJP: Well, Ryan (Kankowski) is a pretty tech/media-savvy guy, and he turned us onto a site called Sharksworld. Have you heard of it?

ASW: In passing, yes…

AJP: Anyways, this Sharksworld is sort of an unofficial fan site, populated by a pretty diverse, passionate and knowledgeable (for the most part) bunch of people, and by sifting through there we got some real valuable insights. Of course, you have to be a bit selective in what you use, because there’s some freaks out there too… There’s this guy, Culling Song… you should see his, I think they call it “avatars”, but anyways… let’s just say, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that this guy has some deep-seated issues…

ASW: *shifts uncomfortably in chair*

AJP: Back to the question at hand though, as I said, based on what we read we gained some valuable insights which influenced our selections.

ASW: Such as…?

AJP: Despite protestations to the contrary, the Cheetahs set pieces are actually pretty poor. Much has been made of Coenie Oosthuizen, but while he’s prominent in the loose, he’s actually a fairly average scrummager, and prone to giving away penalties. Also, the Cheetahs have been playing exciting, dynamic rugby, when afforded space or turnover ball. However, when their space has been shut down, they’ve struggled, which I think is compounded by the fact that although they have some supremely talented players, they also have some inexperience in key positions. Lastly, their team selection indicated that they were going to place emphasis on kicking for territory.

ASW: So how did that affect your selections?

AJP: Well, in a quest to avoid giving them front foot ball at the scrums, we decided to opt for the best possible scrummaging tight five, which, as you saw, consisted of Beast, John Smit, Wiehan Herbst, Mossie and Sykes.

ASW: The omission of Bismarck from the starting line-up certainly raised some eyebrows in certain quarters…

AJP: Which I can understand, I guess. Bissie is a class player, but he has played most of the games this season and needed a break. Also, John is actually better at scrummaging and lineout throwing, two areas where we realized we could pressurize them.

ASW: And your thinking in selecting Herbst over Van Staden?

AJP: You know, tighthead is such a vital position, and we just felt going into the game that Wiehan’s technique is a little better than Eugene’s. Also, Eugene is proficient on both sides of the scrum, so having him on the bench increased our options. Lastly, Eugene’s strength is with ball in hand, so having both Eugene and Bismarck on the bench allowed us to bring some pretty effective ball carriers into the game at a late stage of the game to maintain our offensive momentum.

ASW: Well, it certainly worked a treat, one try apiece to Bismarck and Eugene… What about the loosie combination of Botes, Alberts and Daniel?

AJP: Well, Jacques is our best player at stealing or slowing opposition ball down, so that was pretty much a no-brainer. With Willem we would have liked to give him a break, possibly play him off the bench, but with Jean’s suspension…

ASW: Just what was up with Jean…?

AJP: Actually, it was an issue of principle.

ASW: ?

AJP: At halftime during the Waratahs game, Jean came to me and told me that the opposition players were baiting him and making, shall we say, indelicate remarks about his mother. I told him that sledging was the Aussie way, and as a professional sportsman it is expected of him to deal with it. Then he told me that that Carter brat told him he bore a passing resemblance to Jorrie Muller, to which I naturally instructed him to rip the guy’s head off at the first possible occasion. I knew it might cost the team, but it’s a principle issue, it’s about drawing a line in the sand and saying “this will not stand”.

ASW: Back to the loosies, Keegan at 8?

AJP: Keegan is just such a terrier on defense, and we needed someone who could pull off cover tackles, due to the Cheetahs attacking abilities, which we’ve mentioned before. And then Keegan is just such a natural playmaker in the 8 position. Of course, Ryan was also returning from injury, and we thought it prudent to introduce him off the bench. Also, just like with Bismarck and Eugene, we thought that introducing Ryan during the latter stages would help keep up the pressure on the Cheetahs.

ASW: Well it certainly did, he was scintillating! Moving onto the backs, I couldn’t help but notice that Charl McCleod seemed to be playing with what appeared to be a necklace…?

AJP: *chuckles* Yeah, actually, that was an electric collar. It’s normally used to administer shocks while training hunting dogs, but we sat down with Charl beforehand, explained to him what we expected, namely immediate attendance at breakdowns, and crisp, accurate passing without hesitation or taking of two steps, and what the result of non-compliances would be, and well, the scoreboard speaks for the efficiency of our strategy…

ASW: And there wasn’t any sort of uproar…!?

AJP: We were expecting some sort of outcry from the players’ union, something along the lines of human rights violations, but frankly, I think they were still so dumbfounded by Supersport’s announcement of Nataniel as Lady Rugga that we slipped that one by them unopposed… Actually, Peter de Villiers phoned me just now to find out more about it; apparently he wants to use it on Pierre Spies every time he is ineffectual at the tackle point, but he’s worried about the potential long term effects of administering electric shocks for more or less continuous periods of 73 minutes on a weekly basis…

ASW: OK, moving on, Lambie at 10, Mvovo at 11 and JP at 14 is pretty self-explanatory…

AJP: Actually, we were thinking of a collar for Lwazi, linked to a GPS tracking his movements, but it seems the mere threat was enough to get him looking for work!

ASW: The centres, Riaan Swanepoel and Adi… interesting choice, but as we saw, extremely effective.

AJP: You have to feel for Meyer Bosman, he really has been trying hard this season, and it has just not come off for him. Maybe that’s been the problem that he’s been trying too hard. Truth is though, he has not had the desired effect on attack, and he’ll be the first to admit that his defense has not been up to scratch. Actually, his missed tackle count is not the worst out there; it’s just that they’ve been missed at critical times.

Fact is, a missed tackle on your line will in all likelihood cost you points. A missed attacking opportunity on your opponent’s line does not necessarily disadvantage you to the same degree; you could still retain possession and have another bite at the cherry. So with that in mind, we opted for Riaan.

ASW: And the introduction of Adi in the starting lineup at 13, his best position? You must be aware that fans have been clamoring for this for some time now?

AJP: Man, it’s been burning my butt all season playing Stefan out of position. Unfortunately though, those were the terms of the bet I took with Tana (Umaga) that Bella would end up with Jacob and not Edward… damn that pale vampire boy! Anyways, I’m a man of honour, I lost, and Stefan played 13.

ASW: Well, Stef certainly looked a new player in the 15 jersey! Anyways John, thanks for talking to us, congratuations on the victory, and all the best for the remainder of the season!

AJP: Thanks, cheers mate.

Unfortunately my time with Plum was limited, and so we did not get to discuss the reserve bench at lenghth. I can confirm that it was made up of Bissie, Eugene, Ali H, Hoff, Freddie Michalack, JLP and Lousi Ludick, and that they all made a significant contribution to the eventual outcome. Funnily enough, this was *exactly* the same team I would have selected; talk about crazy coincidences, eh?

So there you have it, some food for thought. I can now certainly confirm that this team can do the business! While I won’t be able to watch the Cheetahs game back home, I’ll keep up on Sharksworld, and in the interim I’ll be following the 5th dimension Sharks closely. Black and white is all that matters! So until I manage to figure out how to get back, this dude abides. Cheers!


  • Nice work Culling Song. I think I prefer the John Plumtree from your dimension. Please bring him back with you next time 🙂

  • Comment 1, posted at 04.06.11 08:59:06 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Finally! And well worth the wait!

    Thanks for the great read CS – the chirps about Australia and vampires were my favourites. 😆

  • Comment 2, posted at 04.06.11 09:03:57 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • Brilliant :mrgreen:

  • Comment 3, posted at 04.06.11 09:06:27 by Jarson (AddicteD) Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner
  • Great stuff Culling Song.
    I love the approach. I’m copying and pasting this “interview” onto an email to sent out. The thinking behind the selections answers by Alternative John actually make an outstanding guide/reference point for the average fan going to today’s game.

    From this and a previous comment of yours, I detect a disliking for a certain very successful singer who latest chart topper is “Girls! We rule the word!”

  • Comment 4, posted at 04.06.11 09:26:48 by beet Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @robdylan (Comment 1) : Thanks! I wish I could bring him back too, but turns out I wasn’t in another dimension, just typing under the influence of pharmaceuticals… *sigh*

  • Comment 5, posted at 04.06.11 13:10:00 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • @beet (Comment 4) : Muchos gracias. It would be fair to say that my dislike for all things Beyonce shines like a beacon through the murk of modern pop culture…

  • Comment 6, posted at 04.06.11 13:10:49 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • Great CS :mrgreen:

  • Comment 7, posted at 04.06.11 13:13:12 by chaz Reply

  • LOL! Awesome Arti CS! Really entertaining. Take me with you to that world the next time you go there! 😉

  • Comment 8, posted at 04.06.11 14:41:55 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Nataniel as Lady Rugga! Heh heh!!!

  • Comment 9, posted at 04.06.11 20:38:51 by perran_dw Reply

  • I needed this! 😆

    Sorry CS – I am no Beyonce fan, but man I love her new video!! And being a bit of a Bra-burning gal – I kinda like the song too! Would like to see u move like that on your pharmaceuticals! 😉

  • Comment 10, posted at 04.06.11 21:26:31 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • Damn, C-Dawg… you are the canine’s gonads! A fabulous tale of intrigue and derring-do… Bring on the pharmaceuticals! 😀 And personally, I would LOVE to see Nataniel as Lady Rugga… and Beyonce performing in Australia, and Bella use her brain and go for the wolf boy instead of the wimp. Oh but wait, Bella has no brain… Or personality.

  • Comment 11, posted at 04.06.11 22:04:28 by SharonvanWyk Reply
  • Hey Culling Song, I loved your article. Very Fun.

    I don’t think any team we selected on Saturday would have won 43-12 though. I guess that’s the point of a paralleled universe right, and I just love how you ended up there, quite creative.

    I wish coaches would really make so much sense of there selections instead of just giving us the same script over and over again.

  • Comment 12, posted at 05.06.11 19:47:26 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • You had me at the Beyonce bit. 😆 Great thread CS, had a proper laugh.

  • Comment 13, posted at 06.06.11 11:29:43 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • @Letgo (Comment 12) : Yeah Letgo, I also don’t think a 43-12 scoreline is realsitic with any permutation of available players; the article was more there to allow me to excorcise my frustrations at the current incomprehensible selection policies.

  • Comment 14, posted at 06.06.11 11:59:33 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • Great stuff CS….I only read this now. While I totally agree on your feeling towards Beyonce I must admit that there is one I detest more……Mariah Carey.

  • Comment 15, posted at 09.06.11 11:54:41 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Pokkel (Comment 15) : I used to love the way Darren Scott would mock her for having the WhoooOOOOHooooOOOOwHOOOO intro to virtually every song of hers. 🙂

  • Comment 16, posted at 09.06.11 11:59:50 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • So this is the quality of article that I miss on weekends because of my refusal to spend time on the web on weekends.

    And CS I saw you on Saturday and you didn’t bother to mention that you placed your first article here. Bad form!! 🙄

  • Comment 17, posted at 09.06.11 12:00:28 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • CS do you have any of that concoction left? :mrgreen:

  • Comment 18, posted at 09.06.11 12:02:21 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author

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