Home #LoveRugby The sad truth

The sad truth


Doc Craven once said “Once rugby turned professional the game would never be the same again because it would have become a job.”

Maybe in more than one way those words come true in recent years especially if one look at the declining numbers at our stadiums and even television ratings.

wpccstorymichaeldup2Not so long ago, stadiums were filled with every game does not matter if it was a Varsity or Currie Cup match

If you did not buy a season ticket, your chances of getting into the stadium was zero and it was the highlight of your week to get on the train with thousands of other supporters going to Newlands were I lived.

Not even mentioning test rugby in the early nineties, when even a season ticket sometimes did not get you into the stadium to see the Springboks play.

With rugby at that time a true winter sport any supporter worth his jersey, would not have missed any match either going to the stadiums or watching it with the family or friends on television.

It was bundles of emotions that ran high when your team did not win and the pure joy when your team have won which gave you the bragging rights for the next week.

2dbace1f43844547bd823956488904bfOur rugby players were gods in our eyes and there was no boy that did not dream of wearing that green and gold Springbok jersey one day.

It was a pure love for the game for every little boy felt privileged to be able to play the game from the little boy at under 9 age level group all the way to the one’s that played first team.

It was driven by more passion than most people can imagen.

The game was simple also simple then, every player had his job on the field to do and they gave it their all until that final whistle.

In those days we had rugby people running the game of rugby, because they loved the game and it feel like now we have business people running a business who have forgotten why we play the sport in the first place.

Why did we play the game? ………We did it out of love for the game because there was no questions of money but there was always a great spirit in the game on the field and off it.

I can understand that those amateur days are long gone and the game have come a long way from those days but the game is still played by fifteen players on each side having to do what is needed to get more points than the other team.

There are so many things wrong with the game today and the only way we will be able to save our game is to do the things that is good for rugby.

It starts from the top administrators in the game through our coaches ending with the little boy running around with that oval ball in the back yard.

The game have grown for the better through the years not just for the sport itself but also for the players.

But we need to ask the question do we as supporters, administrators, players and coaches still do it just because we love the game?


“A game of rugby is a work of art!” ―Danie Craven

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  1. So true – biggest disappointment is the level of “professionalism” from administrators globally. I am still amazed at the level of skill those players of the 70’s and 80’s displayed. I was no fan if Jannie Breed, but just check on YouTube how often he offloaded in rackles.

  2. @Bekke: Even though watching video’s of tries scored in the past and Bok back lines running at full tilt, I think it is easy to view this with rose colored glasses. Think that is the right way of saying it.

    Anyway, a lot of those offloads were easier, due to defensive lines being poorer. Same with those sweeping back line moves. If you look at those tries, there are no real defensive lines to speak of. The game is also played at a much greater pace today, so off loads in tackles become a bit more difficult. Defenders have also learnt to negate the off load in tackles.

    Not saying the game is better now than back then, just different.

  3. As for the passion the players played with, I think there is a ring of truth behind it. The Boks got the opportunity to play the AB’s twice a decade on tour. The amount of rugby being played has somewhat diluted the end product, as their is always the return game to fix it. Money has changed the game and I don’t see the same passion for rugby in my son, even though he plays it and watches with me, as I had.

    That is one of many examples. Professionalism has it’s perks, but for every upside, their is a downside.

    I also think we have amateurs in SA, trying to run a professional game. This whole boetie boetie nonsense should end. It is the cause of many of our problem. The best should be in charge. I have no problem with a business man being in charge of the professional arm of a Franchise, it is good in many ways as he would pursue maximum return from his investment (players) and try and keep them if he has invested in their development. Sadly it is to easy to just contract the next youngster and forget about the time an money spent on the 25 year old, who is still a youngster. He would also protect his investment (player) and do what is good for it’s growth as well as the growth of the business (franchise).

  4. No “20 coaches”. No video analysis. No kicking coach. No defence coach. No psychologist. No physio. Team docter is guy with a few bandages and can of deep-heat spray. No conditioning coach. No hair stylist. Just 3 practice sessions a week of up to 2 hours. And then they genuinely played “what was in front of them” with just talent and determination.

  5. @Bekke:

    So you mean much like the Bok set-up of 2016 in almost every respect?

    It’s all very well to be nostalgic about the ‘good old days’ however rugby is light-years ahead of that era… which is more than likely why the Boks now look like a B division test side… regressing back to a previous era in every respect… the scary thing is… whilst the regression at lower levels has been evident for quite some time… the top team seems to have ‘achieved’ that in half a season…

  6. @Bekke:

    Nope… you just don’t have the ability to read to comprehend nor post to communicate… ‘crusade’ hmmmph yeah again comprehension of inference!

    The amateur era had it’s many positives… but for mine they’re more nostalgic than anything else now… the level of the game is light-years away and only professionalism would ever get it to where it now is. If I want some of that nostalgia I can go watch any of the club games here in Victoria on the weekends… rugby played by rugby enthusiasts (from a variety of national backgrounds) for the love of the game and nothing else.

    A damn good article on the difference between RSA and NZ in the professional era, where NZ still maintain some of the old whilst continuing on their upward trend in the professional era. RSA rugby across the groups of the ‘professional’ era is currently in a downward trend with no ‘stop-loss’ to speak of.


    Which leads on to the latter part of Gavin Rich’s article…


  7. Some people confuse professionalism and money in sport. SA rugby has lots of the latter and little of the former.

    That’s why they employ ex-captains as CEOs.

  8. @bryce_in_oz: the whole idea was nostalgia drol – and yet you just voert voort on uour crusade. No idea why you are not only the AB, Bokke and Oz coaches – you clearly deserve to be prez in Nkandla as well….

  9. One thing for sure, I reckon the old buggers far more committed than the new rock stars. It wasn’t played for money, but theyd pretty much run through brick walls for the jersey, same for boks and ABs.

  10. I sincerely hope that I am the biggest drol on this site. When they start playing rugby then we can to party like its 1995. Rock and roll baby. This kak that gets dished up every, I rather not even watch.