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Do officials crave the limelight too?




Officials are starting to act like neglected kids who have always sought attention with atrocious calls and decisions every week. It is as if they want to be in the headlines every week and for all the wrong reasons. Some may call the criticism unfair but its warranted with the number of high profile howlers growing by the week. Soon the question of match fixing will become part of the rugby conversation.  Instead of focusing on the rugby, most press conferences, around the world have resulted in talk of the referee decisions. Blues coach Tana Umaga the latest to highlight some inconsistencies. There were many a dubious call that are yet to be put to the fore.

  1. The neck roll on Schalk Ferreira by Sam Whitelock has yet to be cited and one has to wonder what the problem is. A result of the Southern Kings front row heading back home.
  2. It was almost the howler of the year for me, Jaco Peyper was about to send the Brumbies to the bin instead of the shower for punches. Had sanity not prevailed the Brumbies could have got away with that one.
  3. The punch by Nizaam Carr was missed amidst the punching row.
  4. Dillyn Lleyds’ try was actually inconclusive. There is a grey area on this one and I await an explanation from the South African referees on how this was a try.

Law 22.1 & 22.2 state- There are two ways a player can ground the ball:

(a) Player touches the ground with the ball. A player grounds the ball by holding the ball and touching the ground with it, in in-goal. ‘Holding’ means holding in the hand or hands, or in the arm or arms. No downward pressure is required.

(b) Player presses down on the ball. A player grounds the ball when it is on the ground in the in-goal and the player presses down on it with a hand or hands, arm or arms, or the front of the player’s body from waist to neck inclusive.

The list will go on, unless teams adapt on a game to game basis they will struggle. What you will be penalised for in one week, you will be allowed in another. The Reds-Blues clash was an example of an official not sure about the breakdown /scrum laws with some contentious calls. Surely there can be ways in which the officials fix this trend before it gets worse.

The use of neutral officials in clashes could be of help. Watching the Jaguares game against the Chiefs; one has to wonder what SANZAAR are a aiming at with the officials finding themselves making some rather one sided calls on occasion. One has to feel for the Argentinians who have had to face this all season.

All attack, no defence

The Lions managed to put the Cheetahs to the sword and further exposed the Bloemfontein side’s inability to tackle, cover the support runners and read the play of the opposition. The Cheetahs have a tournament high of 116 tackles. A further 38 more than the beleaguered Kings who show some bright sparks but lack the nous to dominate an 80 minute game. The Bloemfontein side is still in rebuilding but would have done well to focus on defence first this season to heal an Achilles heel that has derailed them in the last decade. The chances are looking good that South Africa will harbour at least two of the worst sides in the competition. While most sides will battle with balance the Cheetahs just seem to forget the entire aspect that is defence.

Team of the week:

My team of the week this weekend features a few surprise players and the top performers in:

Warrick Gelant (Blue Bulls); Ruan Combrinck (Lions); Johnny-Ben Kotze (Stormers); Howard Mnisi (Lions); Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders); Elton Jantjes (Lions); Faf de Klerk (Lions); Jed Holloway (Waratahs); Sean McMahon (Rebels); Elliot Dixon (Highlanders); Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers); Blade Thomson (Hurricanes); Marcel van der Merwe (Blue Bulls); Malcolm Marx (Lions);  Sef Faagase (Reds)

Who was that Cyle Brink?


Position Flanker

Date of Birth 16/01/1994 (22 years)

Place of Birth Johannesburg, RSA

Height: 190cm

Weight: 118kg


Credit: Willem Loock Photography

A lot of fans were wondering who he was. Some Lions fans looked so disappointed in the injury to Jaco Kriel they felt the side would drop off in standards just a bit. How wrong they were. The flanker came on and was like a possessed man. He was mammoth in all facets from carrying the ball to smashing the Cheetahs behind the gain line.

Some fans in the stadium who read the reports in the media this week could not believe his impact. Some even suggesting amongst themselves he was out to prove a point after the Ruan Ackermann stories.

I just saw a future star who got a chance and was eager to prove he can cut it at the highest level. He excelled in all areas. He was by miles the best loose forward in South Africa this weekend. Setting such a standard only means he will be expected to live up to it.

Brink played like it was his last game, yet it was his chance in Super rugby and in so many ways the missing Jaco Kriel was not missed. He poses more problems for Johan Ackermann who will have more loose forward selection issues when his array of stars return.

A wealth of choice in Ruan Ackermann, Derrick Minnie, Warwick Tecklenburg, Cyle Brink, Stephan de Wit, Fabian Booysen and the list goes on. Cyle Brink was one of the stand-out performers at the 2014 Junior World Championships in New Zealand, representing the Junior Springboks who returned home with a silver medal.

He represented the Lions at the 2012 Craven week and has continued to develop. What we have here, is yet another ex-King Edwards School boy; is on the verge of a glittering career.

Farewell to the original warrior


Rugby players retire all the time, but it is not often that you will find the global rugby community express a collective sense of loss when a player decides to hang up his boots for good.

Cheetahs fighting to keep Juan


The Cheetahs are doing everything within their powers to try and stop loose forward Juan Smith from moving to France.

Cheetahs wil uitreik na ondersteuners


So drie weke terug het ons ‘n artikel geplaas wat Brendon Shields as ‘n brief aan Vrystaat Cheetahs se president, Harold Verster, geskryf het.  Verster het die brief gesien en dit belangrik genoeg gedink om te antwoord op die vrae wat gevra is.

Dear Oom Harold…


Dear Oom Harold…

Rugby News


We update you with rugby news from around the world.

WP after Brussow


Brenden Nel, for SuperRugby.co.za, has reported that WP and Stormers rugby has made a massive offer to Cheetahs and Springbok loose-forward, Heinrich Brussow.

Verster to stay on as Cheetahs president


Harold Verster, current president of the Freestate Cheetahs Rugby Union (FRU) has been asked to postpone his retirement.

Cheetahs forced to select 5th captain


In almost as many weeks the Cheetahs was forced to select their 5th captain for the season as Andries Strauss was ruled out for 12 weeks.

Cheetahs have their captain back


They might have lost stand-in captain, Adriaan Strauss, to a broken hand, but the Cheetahs received a massive boost ahead of this weekend’s clash with the Bulls as Juan Smith was declared fit to lead the side.

Smit selected at prop


Sharks coach John Plumtree delivered on his promise that captain John Smit will be used anywhere in the front row as when he picked him at loosehead for their clash against the Cheetahs this weekend.

Toyota the force behind Cheetahs


The Cheetahs managed to rope in a major sponsor just days before the start of the Super Rugby series when it was announced on Wednesday that Toyota is the company that has come to their rescue.

Cheetahs lose captain for opener


The Cheetahs were dealt a cruel early-season blow when captain Juan Smith was ruled out of the Super Rugby showdown with the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.

A rugby disgrace


Something did not feel right when the “bigger, better, longer” expanded Super 15, sorry Vodacom Super Rugby series, was launched in Midrand during the week.

News to use, and lose


Some news and information that does not deserve its own thread, but you might still find interesting.

Cheetahs continue to plod along


As hard as the Cheetahs players and coaches try to stay competitive each year, their administration seems hell-bent on derailing their efforts.

WP 31, Cheetahs 7 – SF 2


Western Province continue their quest to end a barren period without a major trophy in nine years when play host to the Currie Cup specialists, the Cheetahs, in a semifinal at Newlands on Saturday.

Naka questions WP scrum


The Free State Cheetahs are questioning the legality of Western Province’s scrumming tactics ahead of Saturday’s Currie Cup semifinal and have e-mailed André Watson and Mark Lawrence about it.

Ricky starts, Jean back at 12 for WP


WP coach Allister Coetzee predictably moved Jean de Villiers back to inside center for the semi-final clash against the Cheetahs this weekend at Newlands.

Schalk is tired of losing


“Tired of losing” should hardly be the refrain of a Western Province rugby player at the moment, but when it comes to Currie Cup semifinals at Newlands, it is strangely enough the case for Schalk Burger.

Lions 27, Pumas 34


While the Lions will be keen to keep their slim play-off hopes alive, the Pumas are determined to use their encounter as a trial run for the forthcoming promotion-relegation series.

Cheetahs 43, Lions 37



It’s do-or-die in Bloemfontein for both the Cheetahs and the Lions, as both sides must win on Saturday to ensure that their Currie Cup semifinal fates remain in their own hands.

Mapoe ordered back to Bloem


Free State Cheetahs wing Lionel Mapoe, was on Wednesday ordered by a Bloemfontein court to report at the Cheetahs by Thursday 15:00.

Cheetahs feel cheated from Basson deal


The ink has not yet dried on the Blue Bulls contract of Griquas and Springbok wing Bjorn Basson and already there have been major consequences for the Griqualand West Rugby Union (GWRU).

Cheetahs feeling effects of bruising encounter


The Cheetahs were still licking their wounds at Monday’s training session following Saturday’s Currie Cup clash with the Blue Bulls.

Cheetahs 20, Blue Bulls 14


The dispute over which and how many Springboks should be allowed to play in the Currie Cup competition has added spice to the already delectable battle between the Free State Cheetahs and Blue Bulls.

Bulls get 4 Boks back


The Blue Bulls welcomed back four of their Springboks for their Absa Currie Cup match against the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday despite the instruction from SARU that Bakkies Botha cannot be selected for the clash.

Griquas 23, Cheetahs 28


The Free State Cheetahs have beaten Griquas 33-28 at the GWK Stadium in Kimberley after being 17-9 up at half time.

Are the wheels coming off for WP?


Resident Newlands local, Phantom, believes that if WP Rugby does not start thinking outside of the box their Currie Cup campaign which started brilliantly, might end up in disaster.

WP 24, Cheetahs 29


Pumas 22, Bulls 21 || Sharks 48, Griquas 30 || Lions 45, Leopards 22.

Western Province are determined to avoid another slump in form, which could be costly, when they take on the Free State Cheetahs at Newlands on Friday.

Gio, Louw straight back into WP XV


WP coach Allister Coetzee took full advantage of Peter de Villiers’ decision to drop Gio Aplon and Francois Louw from the Springbok team when he selected them to front the Cheetahs on Friday night.

Brussow to miss EOYT


Springbok and Vodacom Cheetahs flank Heinrich Brüssow will undergo follow-up surgery to his knee which will delay his return to playing.

Div to intervene in Mapoe saga


Springbok coach Peter de Villiers wants to intervene in the Lionel Mapoe saga.

Lions 30, Cheetahs 26


Despite the desperate need of both the Lions and Free State Cheetahs to secure a win and collect valuable league points, the ‘need for speed’ could just make this the most entertaining game of the weekend.

Lions change 3 for Cheetahs


Lions coach John Mitchell has been forced into three changes for Saturday’s Currie Cup match against the Free State Cheetahs at Coca-Cola Park.

Sharks lose Mapoe case


Springbok Sevens player Lionel Mapoe has lost his bid to be released from his contract at the Free State Cheetahs.

Cheetahs 13, Sharks 25


UPDATE: Sharks take it by scoring 14 points in the last 9 minutes.
It is a Currie Cup game with history! Yes, the Free State Cheetahs have had the wood over the Sharks for the better part of the last decade.

ABSA Currie Cup preview – Round 3


The Sharks captain Stefan Terblanche will make his 100th Absa Currie Cup appearance on Friday evening when his team take on the Pumas in Durban at 19h00.

Currie Cup round up, Round 1


The 2010 Absa Currie Cup kicked off to an exciting start after 26 tries were scored in the opening weekend of South Africa’s premier domestic rugby competition.

De Waal to front his old province


Willem de Waal will be back at flyhalf for WP when he runs out against his old province the Cheetahs as the Currie Cup gets under way.

WP and Cheetahs to contest ‘final’


Free State Cheetahs and Western Province will once again play compete in the finale at the Coca-Cola Under-18 Craven Week following their 30-20 victory over Kwazulu Natal in Welkom on Thursday.

Force sets sights on Ebersohn


The Western Force are continuing their search in South Africa for a fly-half to replace André Pretorius.

Earl Rose off to Bloem


Earl Rose is heading off to the City of Roses to become a Cheetah while Ashley Johnson is heading off to the City of Gold in Lions country.

Cheetahs hangs onto Brüssow


Heinrich Brüssow has decided to extend his contract with Free State for another year.

Juan commits to Cheetahs


His business interests and pride in the Cheetahs jersey made it easy for Juan Smith to renew his contract with the Free State Rugby Union.

Bosman heading for Durbs?


Meyer Bosman, who will be on the Springboks’ substitute’s bench for Saturday’s Test against Wales in Cardiff, may soon play for the Sharks.

Juan still mourning


Springbok flanker Juan Smith will probably only play for South Africa in August.

Sharks poach Mapoe


Star Cheetahs wing Lionel Mapoe has secretly joined the Sharks and the 21-year-old Sevens Springbok is set to start training with his new “team-mates” this week.

Chiefs 25, Cheetahs 25


The Chiefs will endeavour to avoid entering the Waikato hall of shame by suffering the worst home record in the franchise’s history.