Try-line exhibition dives are unnecessary, risky, can cause sever injury and can often lead to the try scorer dropping the ball in the in-goal area. But who cares! We love to see them, they love to do them, they are the Bicycle kicks of our rugby.
So we dare all try scorers to ditch the conventional vertical dot-down and go for the pulsating horizontal – 2 meters off the ground – touchdown.
Rugby World Cup minnows have come to the party in 2011.
- all pictures courtesy of Getty Images
After four years of Peter de Villiers at the helm of the Springboks, not many can boast to have figured him out. I’m proud to announce that we have and in the end it has boiled down to one single thing.
De Villiers doesn’t read newspapers, and his dropping of Patrick Lambie from the Bok squad for the Tri Nations home leg is a big zap sign to critics.
You see, after a disastrous attempt at adding depth to the experienced core of the squad, Div needed an act of force to demonstrate his might and remind all observers that he is still in charge.
What better way to show all pundits that - in the end - it is he who controls selection, than to whip out the belt? And as long as we ‘live in his house we will abide by his rules’.
Yes, the Bok squad is not a democratic entity, and why should it be? Where will all the journalists be when his contract is reviewed for renewal (or non-renewal) at the end of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand? Matter of fact where were they when he suffered consecutive losses in 2010 that threatened to cut his pay cheque? Behind their desks typing, that’s where they were.
So Div has to, by all means, run all things Springbok; and if he needs to crack the whip in the process, so be it.
He is a cornered cat desperate for a way out and his only chance of reprieve is to attack.
The problem with his show of muscle is that the time could be better used drawing up tactics - and strategising on how the Boks can play to win – rather the “play to fulfil their contractual obligations and keep the score down” tactic which is not producing the desired results.
All Patrick Lambie has done wrong so far in his career is play rugby during a time when Div is the coach of the Boks. This dreadful error has cost him a place in the squad. Morne ‘Haphephobia’ Steyn has retained his place.
Div recently said - before touring Australasia - that “anyone can pick a Springbok team but the difference between mine and yours is that my team plays and yours doesn’t.”
The man is right.
Or is he?
Lambie is inexperienced and everyone knows this. Francois Steyn had ten test caps before being thrown in as a replacement for the injured Jean de Villiers in the 2007 World Cup. If one is allowed to compare, Steyn was far better off then than Lambie is now, in that he was given chances on the park (to make mistakes and learn from them) with experienced players in the run-up to the 2007 tournament. Lambie, on the other hand, has had to toil it out with his fellow inexperienced fringe players.
With six test caps and none in a squad featuring Fourie du Preez, Patrick Lambie’s chances of a plane ticket to New Zealand (hopefully not on Qantas airways) are looking dim. Is he a good player? Yes. Can he kick? Probably not with the SARS efficiency of Morne Steyn.
With every losing test (8 of the last Tri-Nations encounters have ended in defeat) it becomes harder and harder to predict whether the Boks will front a determined challenge for the Webb Ellis trophy. One thing is for sure though, Div won’t be listening to me, you or anyone else with a rugby opinion leading up to the tournament.
Chester Williams – “The critic assassin” 1995 – South Africa
He wasn’t even picked for the World Cup squad and few had faith in his ability. Many a critic have admitted to being unsure about Chester’s ability before his industrious performance during the World Cup but later warmed up to him when they saw he could deliver. An injury to Peter Hendricks meant that Chester had his big break. He went on to be one of the Springbok heroes of all time and his try-saving tackle – with James Small – on Jonah Lomu will be remembered for eternity.
Jannie de Beer – “Make Naas Botha proud” 1999- England
With a year to go before the big showpiece in England, no one knew which country de Beer was going to play for – South Africa or Scotland. He had signed a contract with London Scottish and many saw that as a Bok snub. With only 8 Springbok caps to his name he was somewhat of a saviour in the flyhalf position. He grabbed his opportunity by the nuts and dropkicked the hosts England into resentment and out of the World Cup at the quarterfinal stage. De Beer accumulated the third-most points of the tournament, 97. He was composed for most of the tournament even when exchanging dropkicks with Stephen Larkham of Australian in the semi-final. We know who eventually won that contest.
Francois Steyn – “Birth of the X-factor Springbok” 2007 – France
An injury to Jean de Villiers days before the start of the tournament meant that opportunity had come knocking at the 19 year-old’s door. He had the X-factor and could play anywhere in the backline. He could side-step, punt a distance and drop-kick a long way too. Steyn’s performance – and incredible demonstration of maturity – could have paved way for other young players to earn a wild-card place in the World Cup in New Zealand starting in September (i.e. Patrick Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo).