Monday, August 03, 2009


New Zealanders probably woke up on Sunday morning wondering why their All Black team played such suicidal rugby, but the reality is they were forced to do so by a Springbok side that just suffocated them.

Both All Black skipper Richie McCaw and coach Graham Henry made comments after their team’s 31-19 defeat at ABSA Stadium that summed up just how good South Africa are at the suffocation game that they have now returned to after experimenting with a new approach in last year’s Vodacom Tri-Nations.

“I feared the Springbok kicking game beforehand as they have several players in their backline who kick excellently and they forced us to play too much rugby in our half,” said dejected All Black skipper Richie McCaw.

“Forced” was the operative word there, and while the All Blacks did play crazy rugby when they tried to run the ball from behind their own tryline, credit should be paid to South Africa for the way in the last two Saturday’s they caused the Kiwis to panic.

They did this with the pressure applied in the lineout, which remains a dominant force, a pinpoint field kicking game aided by superb chasing, a forward pack that destroyed their opponents physically, and an aggressive defensive screen typical of the more successful Bok teams of the post-isolation era.

“There was nothing wrong with our strategy, we had to run from everywhere because we just never had the forward platform to play it any differently. It was the execution that let us down, not the plan,” lamented Henry.

The All Black coach is a different animal to what he was two years ago. Instead of being surly and edgy, these days he tends to take a light approach at press conferences, and is always willing to give the opposition credit rather than make excuses. In his previous incarnation as Mr Grumpy, however, he would not have been too wide of the mark if he mentioned the rain that started falling about 20 minutes into the game.

Up to that point the All Blacks, although making far too many elementary errors for a team of this calibre, had troubled the South Africans with their running and passing game. Once the slippery sheen was introduced to the ball by the drizzle, however, it just made it that much more difficult for the visitors, and in the second half, when they tried to play catch-up, they were pinned in their own half and were unable to breathe.

The big warning signal that should be jangling for New Zealanders is that the All Blacks seemed to go into this game with a pre-conceived plan to run from everywhere. That was tantamount surely to an acknowledgement even before the game had started that the Springbok forwards, particularly their lineout, were just much better than they were.

And it is a justifiable perception after these two tests on South African soil as the All Blacks do seem a million miles right now from sorting out their lineout, something they have struggled with against the Boks for the best part of the last five years. They also lack the grunt to front the Boks physically in other aspects of forward play such as the driving maul and the breakdown, where newcomer Heinrich Brussow has really made a habit of messing up the All Black attempts to gain momentum.

So for the Kiwis the challenge ahead of their next three games is about more than just finding a way to give Dan Carter a crash course in sharpening so that he can be reintroduced to the No10 jersey ASAP. They need to find the personnel that will be able to give them the forward dominance that helped make Carter so effective after their strategy readjustment in last year’s Tri-Nations.

Talking of strategy readjustments, the Boks did theirs at the end of last year’s Tri-Nations, with the Australians reaping the whirlwind caused by their frustration in the last match at Coca Cola Park. Since then the Boks have lost just once, in a dead rubber test, and their direct approach has been responsible for that momentum.

The return to the tactics that won the 2007 World Cup has really enabled the Boks to come into their own, confirming the perception that they are the best in the world when they play it their way.

But the Wallabies are a lot cleverer than the All Blacks, so it will be a new challenge that faces the Boks in Cape Town next week, and victorious skipper John Smit will probably be the first to acknowledge it.

“It was a great achievement to beat the All Blacks twice in the space of a week and it really is quite incredible what this team is managing to do but we know that we must win next week against Australia in Cape Town to set ourselves up for the Tri-Nations trophy,” said Smit.

The Boks do appear to have a stranglehold on the Tri-Nations right now, but Smit knows how important the Newlands game will be as a step towards a third southern hemisphere title being a reality. If the Boks win in six days time, he will be able to let his hair down and celebrate his record breaking achievement of becoming the international skipper who has led his team the most times as there will be three weeks before the next match in Perth.

So PDV has started majestically in Durban. After the BOKS performance litys in 330 and the LUGS were chanting PVD, AVB...What Legends. And now they or the world will know who PDV is.Him and Uncle Bhai Gora were at the opening of Docksided when both PVD and AVB performed on Ladies Night. PDV was there. Anyways lol.De Villiers is playing attacking RUGBY and 2 out of 2. WILL he skin the Wallabys. Great display by the boks and particularlt Steyn
Michael "the GREAT" Shumacher is making a comeback to F1. What a thing.Its the perfect injection to F1 this season. Ebie your comments?Also Phillipe Massa was lucky to have his life after a shock from one of the cars hit his helmet like a misile. Again the grave dangers of motor racing showed its ugly head


In football friendlies Liverpool lost 3-0 to Espanyol.Ok its just a friendly.

I was watching the PEACE CUP and JUVE are looking good. But they lost the final to Aston Villa after missing a host of chances. And in the shootout Del Piero of all people missed his spot kick. poor crowds, Big money but Juve are looking solid. Arsenal also won the Emirates Cup.

CANT wait for the season to start


  1. Swoosh Did you see Dels Penalty.Worst penalty I have seen in my life.Your comment?

  2. Is PDV your daddy now Swoosh.2 out of 2.
    What a man

  3. Shumi will light up F1.Greatest thing eva.
    Forza Ferrari

  4. Do you prefer Pepsi or Coke?
    ANSWER THE POLL and you could get a prepaid VISA gift card!


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