Wat stop ons?

October 21, 2012
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Wat presies stop Suid-Afrikaanse rugby om leiers te wees eerder as volgelinge?

Ja, Springbok rugby is op hierdie stadium van die wedloop ’n wêreldkrag, maar leiers van die spel? Aikona my vriende.

Rugby kultuur

Ry na enige dorp in Suid-Afrika met ’n skool en inwoners meer as een duisend mense, en jy sal vind dat rugby elke naweek óf gespeel óf gekyk word op televisies in hul huise of die naaste kroeg elke liewe naweek.

Ons mense is lief vir rugby, dit is ’n kultuur wat ongelukkig vermom was oor die afgelope paar jaar as ’n besigheid deur geldgierige of polities-gedrewe individue as ’n voertuig vir selfverryking.  Die bliksems wat nie geld maak uit die spel nie probeer hulself in polities-korrekte situasies te plaas vir geen ander rede as om hulle eie gat te borsel met ’n goue kwas op die ou end van die dag nie.

Rugby is professioneel, maar hou die balans

Nou dit is nie dat ek teen die feit is dat rugby nou wel ’n professionele sport is nie, maar as ons iets gaan aanpak in ’n sekere hoedanigheid kan ons nie asseblief ’n goeie jop daarvan maak nie?

Ek sien gedurig hoe mense George Orwell se Animal Farm aanhaal waar hy sê; “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” –  en ek kan nie ’n beter deskripsie gebruik om die situasie in ons rugby op te som nie.

Daagliks moet ek lees hoe Suid-Afrika nie genoeg spelers of talent het om 5 kompeterende Super Rugby spanne in die veld in te stoot nie, óf dat daar nie ’n manier is dat ons 14 spanne in een plaaslike Curriebeker kompetisie kan hê nie.  Rêrig mense?  Gaan vertel dit vir pa op Rivier-sonder-ent wat elke Saterdag sy laaitie na moer-en-gone to ry vir hul weeklikse rugby-derby teen Caledon of Bredasdorp.  Of die pa in Betlehem wat deur moet ry na Senekal of Winburg toe vir ’n Saterdag van rugby genot.

Natuurlik, wil dit voorkom of rugby slegs in sogenaamde stedelike gebiede van belang is en dit is Suid-Afrika se beheptheid met ons ‘tradisionele’ rugby kragte is wat ons op die ou end oor die afgrond dwing.

Ons krag is in ons syfers

Ek lees graag hoe ’n klong soos Sergeal Petersen van Humansdorp nee gesê het vir al die sogenaamde groot unies in SA Rugby en besluit het om sy beginjare in sy rugby loopbaan in die Oos-Kaap deur te bring, vir die eenvoudige rede dat hy homself vereenselwig met die omgewing en die mense en sy identiteit daar vind.

Dat hy eendag vir die WP, Haaie of Blou Bulle miskien sal uitdraf is nie die kwessie nie, maar wel die feit dat hy sy rugby kultuur vind as a jong man in die provinsie wat hom gemaak het wat hy vandag is.

Hoeveel mense in die Oos-Transvaal dink julle het Pumas rugby truie as deel van hulle rugby kolleksie?  Het jy al ooit ’n SWD rugby trui in ’n sports winkel gesien in die laaste 20 jaar?

Ek lees vandag (Sondag) hoe sewe All Blacks vrygestel is vir die finaal vir hulle plaaslike kompetisies en sou jy glo dat meeste van hulle teruggaan na tweede divisie spanne?

Hoekom moet ’n Siya Kolisi sak en pak na Kaapstad verhuis om potensiaal ’n Springbok te word of om Super Rugby te speel?  Waarom kan Bjorn Basson nie in Kimberley bly en nog steeds Springbok word nie?

Suid-Afrika, vind jou identiteit

Dit sal verwaand en eien sinnig wees vir my om voor te stel hoe die strukture in SA Rugby bestuur moet word en ek is beïndruk deur die werk wat op klub en universiteits-vlak tans gedoen word, maar ons moet dit deurvat na ’n nasionale vlak toe.

Ons moet nie net gelukkig wees om vir jong spelers ’n kultuur of identiteit te skep op skool of klub-vlak alleenlik nie, maar ook op nasionale vlak.  Ons moet streef om vir ’n jong talent op Kuruman die droom aan te bied dat dit nie noodwendig is hom vir die Blou Bulle of WP te speel om ’n Springbok te word nie, maar dat jy deur jou skool, klub en provinsie ’n held kan word waarna almal sal opsien.

Ek is oortuig van die feit dat alhoewel rugby ’n professionele sport is, ons karakter en krag gebou sal word uit amateur beginsels waar daar ’n gelyke speelveld geskep kan word vir elke laaitie wat ’n rugby-bal optel en besluit om te hardloop, tekkel of skop.

Daar is geen rede hoekom Suid-Afrika nie wêreldleiers kan wees in rugby nie, maar dit sal alleenlik gebeur as ons ’n OP rugby span sal aanvaar in ons hoogste kringe van deelname  met ’n handeklap van respek, en nie ’n klip ge gooiery van verwyt nie.

Vyf kompeterende spanne?  Asseblief man, ons kan tien bymekaar sit!

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17 Comments

  1. avatar biltongbek says:
    October 21st, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Oor hierdie onderwerp het ek baie te se, maar kom ek begin met iets wat ek vroeer die week geskryf het as inlyding.
    ……………

    The Ellis Park home crowd waited with anticipation for the kick off on the 15th of August 1992, when the Springboks met New Zealand for their first international encounter since the Apartheid ban.South African greats such as Danie Gerber, Naas Botha, Uli Schmidt, Wahl Bartmann and a number of other veterans took on a game All Black side.

    South Africa had 10 debutants on that fateful day when New Zealand won by 27-24, the narrowest of margins.The South African public would have taken a lot of confidence out of that performance and would have believed that South African rugby was as strong as ever, until of course the next weekend when the then world champions Australia thrashed the Springboks 26-3 at Newlands.

    Perhaps it was an omen that a new world force had risen during the self-inflicted international hiatus.

    But 21 years on, has South Africa improved?Back then provincial rivalry was staunch, understandable as the Currie Cup was the alpha and omega for South African rugby players and public, it ultimately influenced the manner in how selections were made. Internal politics, nepotism and favouritism reigned supreme.Looking at the record of the Springboks over the past 21 years it makes for complex and contradictory reading.

    Two World Cups, three Tri Nations titles, and four Super Rugby trophies does entertain the thought that there were some successes along the way, but when you delve deeper and ignore the win ratio of 63% (including a superior win record over all nations bar the Wallabies and All Blacks) then it seems little has changed

    .We still face a system that discourages collective thinking, the Super Rugby franchises rarely do anything for the good of the collective, politicians interfere regarding ‘non-existing’ quotas, administrators behind closed doors make rash decisions with scant regard for the consequences and supporters are rarely being kept in the loop regarding the clandestine workings of the inner circle.

    IfDr. Danie Craven would be able to come back for a visit, what would his opinion be about where we find ourselves 21 years later?We still haven’t been able to evolve our game plan, we still believe in the Neanderthalic approach to ball carrying and lo and behold, the kicking fly half is still revered as the Messiah in South Africa under many supporters.

    IRB player of the year (2007) Bryan Habana has learnt how to circumvent the stoic game plans and has found other methods of scoring tries, be it by intercept, individual brilliance or opportunistic chip kicks.

    We score less tries per match than our two biggest foes, we have stifled great players’ instinct and vision and yet there is a strong belief among many South African supporters that we are on the right track.

    It seems to me at least we are doomed to forever be contenders and never the holders of the prestigious title of best team in the world.Is it an inherent trait of South African leaders to remain conservative and afraid of taking risks? Will we forever be the rugby nation that has all the talent in the world, but continue to waste our resources due to the inability to reach for the stars?

    Will Heyeneke Meyer stick to his guns and select the young potential stars like Jantjies and Lambie now that Johan Goosen is out for the end of year tour, or we he fall back to his safety net of Morne Steyn?It is easy to fall back to the comfort of experience, but it takes a brave leader to venture into the unknown. Will Meyer be the man who will change Springbok rugby forever, or will we wait patiently for the promised land?

  2. avatar Vetgesmeerde Blits says:
    October 21st, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Baie goeie artikel

    Nog ‘n punt wat vir my belangrik is, is die manier hoe provinsiale spelers op skolevlak vir die Cravenweek en u/16 spanne gekies word.
    Daar word dalk wel proewe gehou, maar dis altyd spelers van ‘n handjie vol skole wat die span haal. En ons almal weet hoe moeilik dit vir spelers sonder die Cravenweek op hul CV is om ‘n voet in die deur as profesionele spelers te kry. Daar is altyd uitsonderings wat na skool raakgesien word soos Juan Smith en Marcell Coetzee, maar hulle is in die minderheid.
    Ouers word hierdeur basies gedwing om hulle kinders ver van die huis af te laat skoolgaan en in koshuise te plaas as hulle hulle ‘n goeie kans op sukses wil gee, en min ouers kan dit bekostig.

    In my hoerskool jare was ek in die Puma streek, en dit maak nie saak hoeveel rondtes proewe gehou is nie, die Cravenweek span het altyd bestaan uit spelers van Hoerskool Nelspruit, HTS Middelburg en Hoerskool Ermelo.
    Selfs al het van hierdie spelers nie aan proewe deelgeneem nie as gevolg van beserings is hulle steeds gekies wat die proewe basies ‘n klug gemaak het.
    Hier en daar het ‘n speler uit ‘n kleiner skool soos Rob Feierre dit gemaak(Danie Russouw en Vleis Visagie se skool), maar dit was rare uitsonderings.

    Daar is soveel goeie afrigters en spelers uit die platteland wat nie die kans of erkenning gegun word nie. As hulle nie na van die sogenaamde makro skole toe skuif nie is die paadjie net soveel moeiliker en somtyds onmoontlik.

  3. avatar DavidS says:
    October 21st, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    In die dae toe ons rugby globaal domineer het, kon ons soveel as 30 of meer provinsiale spanne laat kompeteer in vier afdelings.

    Ons het werklik die getalle om sodanige kompetisie steeds aan die lewe te hou.

    Maak dit dan gelyk vir die veertien of watookal.

  4. avatar Boertjie says:
    October 21st, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Daai 14 spanne moet entoesiastiese
    ondersteuners hê wat wedstryde bywoon.
    Boland sukkel om 2,500 te kry by ‘n
    middagwedstryd teen, sê, SWD.
    Hoekom? Hulle wil eerder WP teen die Cheetahs
    en die Bulle teen die Sharks op TV sien.

    Daar is baie meer mense wat elfuur die oggend
    kyk na Paarl Gim teen Paul Roos.

  5. avatar Oranje Orakel says:
    October 21st, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    Ja Swaer!

  6. avatar Oranje Orakel says:
    October 21st, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Vyf kompeterende spanne? Asseblief man, ons kan tien bymekaar sit!

    Het ons die Coaches?

  7. avatar Mug Punters Organisation of South Africa says:
    October 21st, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    We have the quality players and certainly the numbers.

    For me its simple. Kultuur. We used to dominate when we were the biggest in size and chose the laaitjie that could run over the players, not the one that offloads in the tackle. So we the do go to ground instead of offloading to the player at pace.

    This summed it all up for me against the Kiwis. We had a backline overlap due to the yellow card but kept it tight. We kicked the ball when we could have exploited numbers.

    The backline is as important as the forwards.

    Another issue is technique. A few times in the drive our driving body positions were too upright.

    Then we gave away possesion.

    So lets change our culture.

  8. avatar Timeo says:
    October 22nd, 2012 at 12:00 am

    Donno.

    All that talent in SA must have been hiding somewhere because certainly, they were not playing rugby yesterday. From what we’ve seen, the Sharks can put one and half competitive teams on the field and the Bulls perhaps a half. The Lions we know cannot compete at all and the hard work the WP made to beat them does not exactly fill me with confidence for SR next year.

    Where are they hiding then?

    It seems more and more that the SA rugby fan suffers from the same delusions as the English soccer fan.

  9. avatar out wide says:
    October 22nd, 2012 at 2:17 am

    Reply to DavidS @ 5:54 pm: 30! You are probably right and I bet you can name them too. I was trying to think of some sides sadly no longer on the scene and thought of Far North, Northern Natal, Stellaland.

    Morne is onto something here. In New Zealand the old National Provincial Competition was divided up into 14 teams playing in the 2-tiered ITM Premier and Championship competitions and then there are still another 12 amateur sides playing in the Heartland competition. That’s a lot of provincial sides for little old NZ but this I believe is what gives NZ its depth of players – as we saw this last weekend when there were some real good rugby played at all levels to decide the three different level finals next weekend.

  10. avatar biltongbek says:
    October 22nd, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Die feit is SA rugby sal nie hulle volle potensiaal bereik op die huidige sisteem nie. Daar is nie kollektiewe samewerking tussen die Provinsies, Franchises en SARU nie.

    Kyk net byvoorbeeld na Breiers. Ek het nog geen sisteem gesien waar almal onder SARU saam werk om Breiers te ontwikkel en n’ kontinuiteits plan bymekaar te sit hoe ons die beste Breiers in die wereld gaan ontwikkel nie.

    Kyk na hoe die kleiner provinsies nie aan talent kan vashou nie, bloot a.g.v finansies. Nou almal weet Kimberley sal nie die toeskouer syfers kry wat Pretoria sal kry nie, or Durban, bloot a.g.v. ekenomie van syfers.

    Dan kyk jy na die Kings en die Leeus. In my opinie alhoewel die hele petalje n’ slegte nasmaak word vir al wat n’ Leeu ondersteuner is, is dit reg da tons 5 Super Franchises in vyf diverse streke moet val.

    Oos Kaap, Wes Kaap, Sentraal, Natal, en Noord. Vergeet van waar die populasie “densities” le. Jy wil super rugby verteenwoordihing bring na elke hoek in die land. Maar, die feit dat n’ super Franchise in werklikheid gebonde is aan een stadium met een groep ondersteuners is my opinie verkeerd.
    Die Bulls is nou Die Noorde se Franchise, due moet hulle al die Stadiums beskikbaar gebruik om rugby na die mense te bring, Vanaf, Rustenburg, Pretoria, Johannesburg ens. Die Cheetahs moet speel in Bloemfontein, Kimberley, Welkom ens. Alleenlik dan, kan jy rerig se die Franchises verteenwoordig hulle streek.

    Verder moet SARU beheer he van die super rugby spelers, asook die coaches, in die eerste instansie om seker te maak die spelers word eweredig verdeel, (dit help nie een fanchise sit met die drie beste vasskop stutte en die ander raap en skraap nie), en ook dat die coaches dieselfde liedjie sing. Wanneer jy huidiglik kyk speel nie een van ons Franchises die selfde styl nie, elke coach het sy eie idees oor wat die game plan moet wees.

    As SARU beheer het en dikteer dat al die coaches die selfde plan het, sal ons spelers almal op dieselfde bladsy wees wanneer hulle vir die bokke uitdraf.

    Noem dit central contracting, noem dit salary caos, net wat jy wil. Maar indien jy dit nie doen nie, sal daar nie n’ kollektiewe benadering in SA rugby wees nie.

    Dieslefde geld dan vier die 14 Provinsiale spanne, gebaseer op die selfde prinsiepe.

    As jy nie die 14 huidige provinsies op gelyke voet sit met finansies, fasiliteite, breiers, spelers ens. Nie. Kan jy absoluut vergeet da tons beter sal raak of ons volle potensiaal bereik.

    Soos Morne se, hoekom kan spelers nie bly by hulle oorspronklike provinsies nie. Want die arme donners het nie geld nie.

    Laaste Punt, die Bulls, behoort nie aan Pretoria nie, die Stormers behoort nie aan Kaapstad nie.

    Solank as wat hierdie 5 spanne net in hulle “tuisdorpe” speel, sal rugby nie groei nie.

  11. avatar Lion4ever says:
    October 22nd, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Some good points here. Where are the hidden gems? When was the last time a Springbok coach pick someone from one of the smaller unions?
    We see this to a degree with some of the bigger unions suddenly contracting a player that has only played at Varsity Cup, players like Josh Strauss, Grant Hattingh and Demetri Katrikalis (sic)to name a few.

    Unfortunately the rugby landscape has changed dramatically over the last few years. Previously the schools fed into the clubs who in turn fed into the unions. Now, its directly from school to union.

    In 2010 we saw the Pumas and Leapards being very competitive, and although they just managed to retain their places. One wonders what the results would have been like this year had the format in the CC not changed?

    We have the players, but do we have the will and know how on how to utilise all the talent at our disposal?

  12. avatar Morné says:
    October 22nd, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Reply to Boertjie @ 9:49 pm:

    Dit is die punt Boertjie, om daardie kultuur te skep in hierdie unies en provinsies.

    Ek is so fokken gatvol om te hoor hoe ons die All Blacks moet na-aap – fok hulle man (met alle respek), Suid Afrikaanse rugby moet wakker skrik en die potensiaal wat ons het eerstens besef, en dan ontwikkel to iets spesiaal.

  13. avatar Timeo says:
    October 23rd, 2012 at 4:12 am

    Reply to Morné @ 6:38 pm:

    You guys are hitting on something there.

    One of the main differences between amateur and professional sport is that the former is player centered and the latter fan centered.
    That is, a professional sport entity that wants to be successful needs to be fan centered anyway.

    In SA rugby there are currently only three unions that receive a significant portion of their income directly from fans. WP, the Sharks and the Bulls. One would expect that somewhere in these organizations are groups of people that understand the importance of the fans and actively works to promote the product and look out for what the fans desire.

    The Lions had squandered the fan connection they once had, but could regain it if they carefully manage the current situation.

    For the rest, all their income ultimately comes from the fans but it arrives in such an indirect way, from the TV network and the sponsors, via SARU that they do not see the connection. Oom Harold does not care about the fans in Bethlehem or even Bloemfontein because from his perspective they have no bearing on his organization’s finances. The fan focus of the other nine unions are probably orders of magnitude less than Oom Harold’s.

    Why then would fans in the Boland or SWD make an effort to go watch a local game if those unions make no effort in return.

  14. avatar Morné says:
    October 23rd, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Reply to Timeo @ 4:12 am:

    You are right Timeo.

    The culture is there to develop amongst fans, but its up to the unions to develop it.

  15. avatar biltongbek says:
    October 23rd, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Ek wil net byvoeg dat ek ook heeltemal gatvol is dat ons nie ons potensiaal bereik nie.

    die ding wat my die meeste frustreer is die feit dat Suid afrikaners so vol kak is en nie wil saamwerk nie.

    Ons kultuur is een van “die son mag nie skyn op n’ ander ou nie”

    Ons verlekker onsself daarin as ons opposisie sukkel of deur n’ moelike tyd gaan.

    Die grootste frustrasie is natuurlik die feit, dat ons dit weet en bokkerol daaraan doen.

  16. avatar The Year of the Cheetah says:
    October 23rd, 2012 at 9:19 am

    yes yes and another yes.

    I planned to write something on the myth sold to South African rugby fans since circa 2006 that South African rugby is a homogeneous culture with a limited set of ‘strengths’.

    Sadly, our current head honcho coach is probably the instigator of this myth.

    The big problem with this theory is that YES, The Bulls has a homogeneous culture with a particular strength and Meyer was the genius to who managed to focus this culture and make it a world leading culture.

    Jake White managed successfully to apply this model and ideology to a broader SA using an English speaking captain to get buy in from the entire player corps in SA even though the core of the team were Meyers troops.

    But 6 years on – is this still our only card?

  17. avatar The Year of the Cheetah says:
    October 23rd, 2012 at 9:30 am

    The traditional cultural centres of SA rugby lies in:

    1) the public schools on the platteland

    2) The private schools in the city, including certain elite public ones like affies, monnas and Grey.

    3) Rural eastern cape clubs

    4) colored boland clubs

    Real transformation will mean elite CC teams need to represent every one of the above, not just darkies from wherever.

    If my kid does not go to University which will place him close to one of the elite teams, he will NOT contribute to SA rugby.

    So we practically only use one quarter of our strength as a rugby country, and this is why a country like Oz with a tenth of our player base is above us on the rankings.

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