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Well whoever said rugby was boring. In one fell swoop, the Sharks were left washed up on some beach on the Jukskei, the Bulls were humbled at home, Heyneke Meyer attempts to fark with our heads and Keo is up for a bit of sex and coke. And that is all before the Queen steps onto her barge!

You just have to have a squiz at a couple of rugby blogs, facebook and twitter to see a country in complete turmoil. The last time anything like this was experienced was when Archduke Ferdinand got slapped by the Black Hand of Gavrila Principe – and that was enough to trigger a world war!

I suppose we must begin with Heyneke Meyers announcement of the Springbok squad. Just to trigger the grey matter, here it is:

Backs – Bjorn Basson, Jean de Villiers, JJ Engelbrecht, Bryan Habana, Francois Hougaard, Elton Jantjies, Zane Kirchner, Patrick Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo, Wynand Olivier, Ruan Pienaar, JP Pietersen, Frans Steyn, Morne Steyn, Jano Vermaak.

Forwards – Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Keegan Daniel, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Ryan Kankowski, Juandre Kruger, Werner Kruger, Beast Mtawarira, Coenie Oosthuizen, Jacques Potgieter, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Pierre Spies, Adriaan Strauss, Flip van der Merwe, Franco van der Merwe.

Now Meyer really is between a rock and a hard place. Here is a man, who has been entrusted to take our beloveled game out of a very dark place, and put it back into the limelight and our hearts. A man, who eventually got the nod after months of shilly shallying by SARU. A man, who had to try to put a coaching team together when all around him were ensconced within their various competitions. A man who was given 1 week to put together a team capable of beating the English, and a man, who had to step into the breach in a country where rugby provincialism means more to supporters than their own marriages.

When Meyer first got the job, there was a collective sigh of relief for the man seen as a saviour by so many. To his credit, he omitted the standard opening line that we have become so familiar with from new coaches, “judge me in 4 years,” but when he got up on stage and said “I believe in two types of rugby; winning rugby and losing rugby, there is nothing in between for me,” he set out his stall. This, I believe, could have been his first major mistake.

His second mistake must have been his reluctance to step in when the newspapers and hacks broke the story about Victor Matfield – not only making a comeback into the Springbok jersey, but as captain noggal. Tongues started wagging, blogs started appearing, and favoritism was a word that started rearing it’s ugly head. He should have knocked it on the head straight away. He didn’t. Then Fourie du Perez’s name popped up. HM made a comment about leaving the captaincy spot open for the likes of an experienced person, and the hacks went mad again. Rapport had a field day. Eventually we became resigned to the fact that FdP was going to be our leader………and then the bombshell.

No explanation, no comment, or no statement, just the stark omission from the squad announcement.

What has happened? Where is he? Was he ommitted, or did he decide it wasn’t for him. We have no idea. Oh yes, the rumours have been flying – Only last week, HM had offered the captaincy to FdP, but at the last minute, he (FdP) changed his mind, leaving HM in a quandary – apparently!

His third mistake.

Then the team announcement. Wow, if you ever wanted to split provincialism even further, this was the way to do it. I have read comments ranging from bemusement to downright outrage at the selections. Comments regarding ommissions, inclusions and from which unions the players hail. Strangely, I am yet to read a single comment from anyone who agree’s with his selection – and that includes his staunchest supporters.

When one stands back a little from the squad, and takes a careful look at the selection, it becomes clearer as to HM’s thinking. Big boys, powerhouse stuff, and alot of kicking. This is a Bulls recipe, a recipe he knows, and one which has worked for him in the past. Using a core of players that he knows and trusts, and a system that has brought the Bulls numerous honors, with the injection of some big lads from other unions, he is hoping that this is the quick fire way to beat those dastardly Poms.

And it had better work. Mutterings of transformation, youth, ability, size and provincialism mean that nothing less than an annihilation of the England team will suffice. Trust me, some of those less than amiable hacks have started sharpening their pencils already.

Good luck, Heyneke, I too, have my reservations about your selections, but will hold off to see how you perform over the weekend.

In other news, those Guppies. If ever there was a reason never to underestimate your enemy, this was it. This match should be boxed up and sent to every school, regimental brigade and future sporting match, where all participants be made to sit through the whole horrific affair, to show you just what happens when you do.

This was a match that was a gimme. A guarantee. Hell, I don’t think even the bonus point possibility was raised. And boy, did it show. The Sharks were blinded by an opening blitzkrieg from the Lions. Four quick tries in the first half, and one seemed to sense that it would need a bollocking at halftime to get them going.

They did come out and play a bit, but just not enough. The Lions not only took the match, but denied the Sharks a bonus point as well. How did this come about. Poor captaincy in my book. If a leader should ever have stepped up to rally his troops, this was it. Daniels just didn’t cut it, and it showed. Could this be the end of their 2012 campaign? I truly hope not, but they have given themselves a mountain to climb.

Then came the Bulls. A match in which all and sundry had written off the Stormers from the previous week. This author included. But what a defensive rally from the boys in blue. Try as the Bulls may, they just couldn’t break through that impenetrable defense. Not the Bulls greatest match, but their scrums were solid, their lineouts were awesome, and their driving mauls left spectators in Monaco in awe. But that was just about it. The Stormers just absorbed wave after wave of attack. The Stormers putting in over 130 tackles, with some players who really put their bodies on the line. None more so than Siya Kolisi. A captains game by Jean de Villiers has done no harm to his chances of leading the national side when it is announced.

For the Bulls, Steyn missed 3 of his 6 kicks – 2 of them drops, and again, the weak link was at scrumhalf. Hougie is just too slow with his service. The scrum, as mentioned was solid, and did little wrong on the night. JJ Engelbrecht continues to impress at centre, CJ Stander was solid, as was Kruger.

The Stormers win elevates them back to the top of the South African conference. Oh yes, and they get a holiday!

To close, it was a shock to read, a few minutes ago, that Mark Keohane has resigned from both SASCOC and HSM in light of the accusations of cocaine use and improper sexual advances on employees. After the recent spat over the Kings/Lions issue, it is sad that this has happened, and one wonders if, perhaps there were ‘third forces at play here’

The really good news for anyone who thought that the world was about to end, is that the sun still came up this morning, and will continue to do so for a few more yet.

39 Responses to My little soap box rant

  • 1

    Good article JFK

    And believe it or not i feel you nailed almost everything on the head. If i had to give you points on this article it would mean a distinction, but not 100%

    Its a long article and i will comment on a few issues. Hope it wont be taken too serious because who am i anyway.

  • 2

    @ superBul:Thanks Supers, don’t worry, won’t be taken too seriously, all thoughts are gratefully accepted!

  • 3

    Let me start with the Bulls game.

    The 2 players that should have given us the upper hand and ironically are expected to do it for the Boks too , Hougie and Morne was poor, poor in execution and poor in ideas. Morne used to be my absolute favorite no 10 because i believe in tests you can not pass a point, it will haunt you. If one think back to previous kickers in the Springbok team, you had that chilling feeling when a guy like Ruan, Butch or whoever lined up for a crucial kick. With Steyn you added the points the moment he lined up, now ? Well his biggest asset was his accurate boot, with that failing him i think he is just average. Hougie …? wel i did not drool over him as a starter, he impressed me as a sub and more so at wing. He is slow and is now programmed to be a super speedcop. His arms swaying and directing the pods or trains(some rightly call it managed truck and trailers) and no attempt to do his natural snipping breaks, all coached out of him.

    I feel that FduP would have been the better one in that. With the coach planning to play the Bulls style i can not see light for these two.

    I would have begged Carlos Spencer to come and spend time with HM and his backline coach, he must feel a grieved that Jantjies will spend 3 weeks under this tempering type of coaching. All skill will be coached out of him, imagine Jantjies with a kick and chase game… horror.

  • 4

    Good afternoon JFK and SuperBul on this lovely Diamond Jubilee Sunday. Firstly long overdue congratulations to you JFK and all your fellow Stormers supporters on your win yesterday! Didn’t see any of the game at all but obviously been rather gutted at the loss especially on reading how much possesion we had and how many more tackles you guys had to make. You must have be over the moon with that, surely that puts you in the driving seat for the knockout stages.

  • 5

    The Heynecke Meyer media approach and way he communicated is poor. The same thing that happened with the Bulls pink decision they tried to test our response and when we fell for it they just bamboozled us. HM was testing the reactions by throwing out bait(vic and Fourie) and then he back peddled after the reaction. I must say this straight away i am not totally convinced in HM. Like i said it is my view and how i feel.

    The win we had in the 2007 final and what happened after that made me doubt him.
    We stole that final
    He then said he achieved everything in rugby and dropped the Bulls after his Bok coach disappointment.(FL did the double)
    He came back after years and dropped the Bulls again.(this time he took our whole coaching brains trust with)

    I liked him and still feel he is good enough to be Bok coach , but he must now proof it with RESULTS.

  • 6

    Remembering that I haven’t seen the game and in fact very little of the man play I am surprised to see you rated JJ Engelbrechts performance as I was surprised he is chosen by Mr Meyer for the Boks. My concern ever since he has been put in at centre was that it was a mistake and I thought he could be found out especially as it would take time for him to adjust to having to pass more than on the wing and that in defence in particular he would struggle. Felt that these concerns were justified when read report about how Stormers try was scored, apparently the play went through his channel and JJ went for and missed the intercept and not long from there the try was scored. I have read though that JJ is big and fast, so I wonder why not pick him on wing where he plays and if he is not better than the starting wing then have him coming off the bench. I do wonder if a lot of our (Bulls) problems have also come from the constant chopping and changing of our midfield this season, as a result of injury and also coaches choice. Just cannot understand when you have young Venter and also went in and bought another centre Sadie then why chose a winger out of position at centre. I hear the argument that Sadie has been injured and maybe also not on top form, but he can only regain his form if he plays and by all accounts Sadie is meant to be a class act. Sorry if thats become a bit of my soap box rant just trying to make sense of things not always easy when don’t get to see much of the games. At least in time to come we can look forward to William Small-Smith and Jan Serfontein being added to the senior squad depth at centre, have heard a lot of good thing about Serfontein in particular, but in the end they need to settle on a combination and stick with it to get familiarity going and with that more success should follow, seems to me that our coach doesn’t know who his best centre combination is, a similar gripe to the one I have with Scotland’s Andy Robinson who is also constantly chopping and changing his midfield.

  • 7

    Bullscot wrote:

    gutted at the loss especially on reading how much possesion we had

    Hi Bul,
    Yes i was furious, i could not believe we could not learn from the Sharks first half last week or from Dan Carter earlier yesterday. Always the same, the Stormers stopped us last year , they stopped us this year in Cape Town and they did it yesterday. No vision nothing.

  • 8

    @ Bullscot:Hi Bully. Thanks, chuffed with the win, more so because it wasn’t expected!!!! I should clarify on JJ. For someone who is only in his 4th or 5th game at centre, he did very well. His lines he ran, defence and ball handling were very good. However, I don’t believe, for 1 minute that he should be in the Bok side yet. THere are other much more experienced players who could have and should have been there (my opinion). But for the Bulls, he is plying his trade well – certainly better than Sadie!!!

  • 9

    Bullscot wrote:

    but in the end they need to settle on a combination

    i believe in combinations, look at JdeV and JdeJ, alone they are somewhat useless , together they form a good to great partnership.
    Things in Bulls country this year makes me wonder, funny moves.

    I used to be proud of my team playing a wing at wing, a full back at full back…. now we are playing players out of their positions.

  • 10

    @ superBul:
    a comment made, makes me wonder
    “maybe the fact that JJ can cover for wing too off the bench (he def wont start) gave him the nod? dont know?”

  • 11

    @ superBul:Supers, do you not think that perhaps the disruptions in the Bulls camp may have something to do with the form of the team? When they left on tour, they were on top of their game. It was at this stage that they lost the coaches, and apart from their first game on tour (although they won the next), their confidence seemed to wane form that first match. I’m not saying they didn’t do extremely well overseas, they did, it just seems that with each match they seemed to play with less confidence.

  • 12

    Just For Kicks wrote:

    I don’t believe, for 1 minute that he should be in the Bok side yet.

    Agree, but lets hope this is a miraculous call.
    But post 10 might be a reason why.
    I still think there is far better utility players with far more experience.

  • 13

    paar weird span keuses,maar sal die ou die voordeel van die twyfel gee……vir nou

  • 14

    @ superBul:But why do we insist on soooooo many utility players. JP can also play wing/center, Hougi Scrummie/wing, Lambie f/half/fb, Steyn Fhalf, centre fb, Pienaar – anywhere! We need some specialists!

  • 15

    @ Just For Kicks:
    Yes i do, remember the real believers in our game plan, the specialist coaches drilled those moves in day in and day out. The replacement coaches might just not do it with the same conviction, or they might not sound as convincing. If the same coaches was still there they might have started their new job silently and somewhat neglected the Bulls. This is all speculation though.

    I think it is rather a blunt attack with too little innovation and lack of other ideas. Worrying indeed.

    Dont think for one moment i am impressed by the Stormers game plan. I feel you will be destroyed by a great no 10 like Beale, Carter and Quade.

  • 16

    Just For Kicks wrote:

    We need some specialists!


    Of the Bulls who would you pick as the best player yesterday?

  • 17

    @ smallies72:
    Hi Smallies , ja jong dit maak my ook sommer erg wonder.

  • 18

    16@ superBul: I thought Juandrè Kruger had a very good game. For me, the best Bulls player on the park.

  • 19

    @ Just For Kicks:
    I must watch the game again but Zane was for me the only one who looked like breaking through, he was just too fast for his own support. See if you dont stay with the game plan you will run away from the pods Pleasure

  • 20

    Former Springbok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez has told coach Heyneke Meyer he doesn’t feel he is up to the rigors of international rugby.

    Meyer was keen to pick Du Preez as captain in the upcoming series against England but he changed his mind after meeting with Du Preez on Friday.

    Du Preez was subsequently not picked in the 32-man Springbok squad announned on Saturday evening.

    “I have a lot of respect for Fourie but he knows my motto is team first. I had a few meetings with him and he said he wasn’t 100 percent sure he’s at his best, having not played for two-and-a-half months,” said Meyer.

    “It was a hard decision to leave him out but it shows the character of the man that he told me to go with the youngsters if I felt he was a 50-50 selection. I will now chat to the senior players before naming my captain.”

  • 21

    We’re having a Power outage here today and tonight…. fair warning was given for a changein our local paper – apparent upgrading of a Sub-Station (next Sunday same thing).

    Have a lot to add, spoke to Heyneke after the announcements and also sat in as the rest of the journalists bombarded him with questions when the TV cameras went off to other matters.

    Will chat in the morning and share my views… and explain a bit more.

    For now, running on fumes with the Notebook battery…. so cheers for eers.

  • 22

    In another surprise Meyer also failed to pick Heinrich Brüssow, who is widely considered one of the best openside flankers in the world, because changes to the rule interpretations are resulting in more penalties at the breakdown against his type of player.

    “That was a tough call because Heinrich is still up with the best opensides in the game, but the game has changed. They’re being penalized more and hookers are stealing more ball now.

    “If the laws change, which they will, then he’ll definitely be in the mix. But at the moment it’s up to him to adapt to the laws.”

    HM you should not point out that, now the Referees of the World will keep a tight eye on the Hookers.
    Ooh and with that in mind why did you pick penalty machine Bismarck then?
    He gets Nailed the most and almost every time at rucks.

  • 23

    City Press: Sports writer’s hedonistic ways may end his career

    Celebrity rugby writer Mark ­Keohane resigned suddenly on Friday as spokesperson of South Africa’s Olympic team – hours ­after City Press confronted him with allegations of drug abuse and sexual harassment.

    Some of Keohane’s former ­female employees have claimed that he sexually harassed them, suffered from “sad, gross cocaine addiction” and used prostitutes.

    Over the past two years, several women have approached the Commission for Conciliation, ­Mediation and Arbitration ­(CCMA), claiming he dismissed them unfairly.

    The allegations against him are now being spread among sports writers and written about on Twitter.

    On Friday afternoon, three hours ­after City Press confronted him, Keohane replied, saying that he had informed Sascoc chief executive Tubby Reddy that he was resigning as spokesperson for the Olympic team and would no longer be going to the Olympic Games.

    He has also resigned as publishing director of Cape Town-based Highbury Safika Media (HSM) with immediate effect.

    Keohane was in charge of 30 ­magazines and the leading website, which is visited by 700 000 users from 220 countries each year.
    He is also the writer of several books and was SAB’s sports journalist of the year.

    Keohane told City Press in 2008 that ­there was an “agenda” against him and that he could not allow ­“disgruntled and malicious former employees, one of them who was retrenched, to undermine the ­credibility and integrity of either HSM or Sascoc”.

    Female employees claimed that they were sexually harassed and were victims of his erratic ­behaviour allegedly brought about by drugs. Their allegations include:

    » During the opening game of the Super 14 series in 2010 he sexually harassed an employee and allegedly tried to kiss her. Keohane said afterwards that he had only asked her for a date;

    » He wrote off his car in November 2009 after he allegedly went on a two-day cocaine binge;

    » He apparently tried to “change his ways” after the accident, but a month later he was back on ­cocaine;

    » During the South African ­Breweries annual sports awards in Johannesburg in 2009, Keohane and several other sports writers snorted large amounts of cocaine before the function. Afterwards they hired three prostitutes for the night; and

    » One woman said in a statement: “I realise that I have been ­like an abused woman. I have been put through hell and back by ­having to accept the blatant illegal use of drugs. I have had to sit back and allow my female staff to be ­sexually harassed, which breaks my heart and makes me ashamed as a boss.”

    Another of Keohane’s former employees, who occupied a managerial position, said it was well known that he was often “totally off his face” as a result of his excessive cocaine use. She claims she had an emotional breakdown as a result of his erratic behaviour ­towards her.

    Keohane has been a controversial figure since his days as communications manager of the Springbok rugby team under the ill-fated regimes of coaches Harry Viljoen and Rudolph Straeuli.

    He resigned after a racial ­incident involving the Springboks’ Geo Cronje and Quinton ­Davids.

    He then started and sold it to HSM.

    Keohane and HSM were also ­involved in a partnership with ­former Springbok coach Jake ­White – Jake White’s Winning Ways – but the relationship dis­integrated and ended in the Cape Town High Court.

    Keohane is widely involved in other HSM business enterprises, including managing Springbok flanker Luke Watson, who was brought back from the United Kingdom to the Eastern Cape to captain the Kings.

    Since 2008 HSM and Keohane had a contract with Sascoc for which they managed all the publicity of South Africa’s Olympic team. The contract was said to be worth R12 million.

    Keohane said he engaged ­lawyers to deal with the allegations. “I have nothing to answer for in relation to the said allegations of former employees.”

    Reddy said the contract was between Sascoc and HSM and not with Keohane as such, and that HSM had nominated Keohane as spokesperson.

    Reddy said that if the allegations against Keohane were true, “such behaviour is certainly not in terms of Sascoc’s image, nor that of any of its athletes”.

    HSM CEO Kevin ­Ferguson said Keohane was a ­valued and productive member of staff, to which his numerous awards attest. He said that the company regarded the allegations as “extremely unfortunate” and that there was clearly an opportunistic element to them.

    Ferguson said he could not ­comment on allegations of cocaine abuse, but said a complaint of ­sexual harassment was made against Keohane two years ago. He was asked to take leave before it was investigated and the issue was resolved.

    “It is strange that they are ­surfacing now, more than two ­years later,” Ferguson said.

  • 24

    22@ superBul:Correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t Bismarck been penalised more times then Brussouw, and stolen the less balls?

  • 25

    Sorry JFK i took over your Soap box i better stop posting all on my own. Will wait for others to get on your box.

  • 26

    @ superBul:Hahahaha, you’ve done a great job, and given us all a lot to think about!

  • 27

    @ Just For Kicks:
    I certainly think so

  • 28

    What has happened? Where is he? Was he ommitted, or did he decide it wasn’t for him. We have no idea.

    i think my post 22 answers the questions here

  • 29

    Backs: Bjorn Basson, Jean de Villiers, JJ Engelbrecht, Bryan Habana, Francois Hougaard, Elton Jantjies, Zane Kirchner, Patrick Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo, Wynand Olivier, Ruan Pienaar, JP Pietersen, Frans Steyn, Morne Steyn, Jano Vermaak.
    How would a bacline like this do?
    Zane Kirchner
    JP Pietersen
    Jean de Villiers
    Frans Steyn
    Bryan Habana
    Elton Jantjies
    Ruan Pienaar

    Francois Hougaard, Morne Steyn, Patrick Lambie

  • 30

    @ superBul:
    or must the question rather be what would Carlos Spencer do with this backline?

  • 31

    Hi guys, so has HM chosen the forms playerd as he promised he would?

  • 32

    @ fender:
    Rob Houwing said this

    Presumably he went a long way to closing his selection book even before kick-off in the Loftus-based team’s derby against the Stormers on Saturday night, an eminently sensible approach in so many ways.

    Maybe he picked on last weekends form.
    Read the Houwing article on Sport24

  • 33

    Hi Super, no I accept that yesterday’s games were not considered. Its just that players like Kanko, Vermaak, JJ to name a few have not impressed me with their form…

  • 34

    @ fender:
    Agree, i would have liked that Free State scrummie rather than Jano, but then again i was very happy when we bought Jano, he was great at the Lions and quite a scoop for the Bulls.
    JJ over a few others Amazed

    our captain ?

  • 35

    Good morning all. Just a flying visit before the salt mine.

    My 10c worth, (if it’s worth anything), some really strange decisions in the Bok squad.

    Daniels and Kanko? Kanko has NEVER impressed with a green jersey on, and the English will make him dissappear quicker than the Greek government when voting on further austerity measures.

    Daniels is a half decent PROVINCIAL player, but generally just a prat, and doesn’t come in the top 6 loose forwards in SA IMO.

    Jantjies and vd Merwe MUST be there as “bly gemaakde troepe”. FFS, they shouldn’t even be carrying the bags.

    As for the rest, well perhaps Toetie helped pick the team so that the Mountain Goats can get some rest.

    Stormers, well done on a victory well earned.

    Glad to see you getting the recognition you deserve from all and sundry.

    As for the Sharks, or more accurately, your supporters, you remain, for the most part a bunch of arrogant @ssholes with little or no Rugby knowledge.

    I wish you would learn to take defeat with some humility, especially the cnuts that send me an sms 5 seconds after you give us (the Lions) a hiding, but NEVER when we beat you as we did this weekend.

    Thge Lions deserve as many congratulations for picking their game up as the Stormers for their win. Hasn’t happened though.

    Guess HM’s “Bok” side prevented that!

  • 36

    The Springbok captain for the Castle Incoming Tour against England will be named on Monday 12H30 at the Springboks’ media conference.

  • 37

    GBS if you read this.
    Some constructive advice or maybe a request.
    Make the sticky article about Superbru a bit smaller and bring the real talking issues higher up. I think most who wanted to play Superbru have joined already. I would have made the Junior article sticky , but that function is also not available to me anymore.


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