August 23, 2011 Leave a comment
Publicity | Music
August 23, 2011 Leave a comment
August 22, 2011 Leave a comment
Bloodied but unbowed, the battered face of Heinrich Brussow will be the lasting impression of the Boks’ 18-5 victory over the All Blacks in Port Elizabeth at the weekend and while he was too groggy to do his Man of the Match appearance at the post-match press conference (following a serious stitch-up after the game), the openside flanker is expected to be make a full recovery from an alleged punch by an All Blacks forward following a set-to between Bakkies Botha and the Kiwis.
More worrying is the shoulder injury sustained early in the match by fullback Patrick Lambie. A full set of X-Rays and scans today will reveal the extent of the damage to his left shoulder joint and indeed whether he will be okay to take his place in the World Cup squad to be named tomorrow night.
Regarding Brussow, All Blacks coach Graham Henry said that the Free Stater had once again been a nuisance to his team.
“He was a problem for us in 2009, the last time he played us, and two years later he has come back (from injury) and nothing has changed. He is a class player,” Henry said. “I reckon it has something to do with his low centre of gravity, whatever it is he is very good on the ball!”
The silver lining to the cloud of losing Juan Smith is that the Boks now have the Brussow factor.
But the gracious Henry was quick to point out that it was a passionate team performance that had undone his team.
“We learned a lot about some of our players but first of all a big congratulations to South Africa, they took their opportunities well, played with great physicality and spirit and out-played us on the day ,” Henry said. “They scrambled really well on defence. We created six clear opportunities and converted just one of them. Some of that was down to lack of maturity to build patiently and then convert, but just as much to Springbok tenacity.
“The first thing we have to say is well done to the Springboks for kicking their goals and defending their line for all their worth,” Henry concluded. “The bottom line is that we believed we had a team that would win and we prepared very well, but it was the Boks that did the business.”
by Mike Greenaway .www.iol.co.za
August 18, 2011 Leave a comment
Great comment piece by one of the top writers in SA on Rugby Mike Greenaway .
The rapturous welcome the All Blacks received at Port Elizabeth airport has reopened the controversy that surrounded the similar support enjoyed by the Crusaders when the Christchurch-based team twice visited Cape Town earlier this year.(see pics below)
The pictures of Port Elizabethans figuratively slitting their throats haka-style in exhibitions of raw passion as their overwhelmed heroes struggled through the arrivals hall to their team bus have prompted questions, mainly from white South Africans, as to why their coloured compatriots two decades into democracy still do not support the Springboks.
Old habits die hard is the reflex refrain, but having chatted to locals here and informed colleagues in Cape Town, the answer is more complex and in some ways not as sinister or controversial as many people think, and it includes the community feeling let down by the present day South African Rugby Union as well as the bare fact that the All Blacks play great rugby.
Of course there is the political aspect to it dating back to the horrors initiated by Hendrik Verwoerd in the ‘60s. Naturally the disenfranchised would support anyone but the sporting standard-bearers of Apartheid, the Springboks, who better than anything reflected the white “elite”.
And blacks would certainly support the one team that gave the then world-beating Boks a hard time on the field, the All Blacks, Nobody else could come near to rivalling the Boks in the amateur era (pre 1995).
And the young South Africans who hated the Boks in those days are now grandfathers and the passion they had for the Kiwis has been passed on through generations and, if anything, has grown stronger.
Cory Jane, the All Blacks winger described the airport reception thus: “It was crazy but very cool. The channel that we were walking through got tighter and tighter as we got closer to the bus and people were trying to reach out and touch you. It was very special. It was very humbling to see what the black jersey means to them and the way they were chanting “All Blacks, All Blacks” was goose-bump stuff.”
But the political history is only part of it. The Chairman of the Eastern Cape All Blacks supporters club, which has 3000 registered members and plenty more unofficial members, is one Danville Felkers, and he sheds some interesting light.
“I was born into supporting the All Blacks. My father, grandfather and uncles are very passionate supporters, and it is very easy for new generations to continue this tradition because the All Blacks are a brilliant rugby team. They are the Manchester United of rugby. They win consistently and they win in style. People love winners.”
And older members of the Port Elizabeth community are in no hurry to convert their children to the green and gold because they feel that that they have been left stranded by empty promises from the game’s governing body.
“Rugby has died in the schools of the (poor) northern suburbs,” Felkers says. “And we have played rugby in this region forever. But we have no facilities. There has been no investment for Saru, no upliftment and we feel let down.”
Once more, in a brand new era, resentment to Saru has been channelled into supporting the Springboks’ opposition.
“We have kids who want to play rugby but their parents cannot afford to send them to (white) schools such as Grey High. Those who stick it out have to come to our clubs,” he says. “In our suburbs we are crying out for sport to give our teenagers something to do to keep them away from drugs and crime. Rugby can do that, but it hasn’t because the system has let us down.”
Saru’s flagship investment in the Eastern Cape is, of course, the Southern Kings, and bully to them for resurrecting top flight rugby in the region, but for the less affluent rugby man on the ground this means diddly squat.
It is a (potential) success story at the pinnacle of the rugby pyramid but what about at the broad base?
“Nothing has changed at grass roots,” says Felkers. “We don’t feel that Saru is engaging us. We don’t feel any affinity to Saru. We remain forgotten.”
And all the while the All Blacks play exciting, invigorating rugby, and their fan base in South African grows by the day.
August 18, 2011 Leave a comment
An emotional Juan Smith yesterday bowed to the inevitable and withdrew himself from the Springbok Rugby World Cup squad because of ongoing compications with his achilles tendon injury.
The 30-year-old flanker has for sometime been behind schedule in his recovery from the injury sustained in Super Rugby in March, and he has been training with the Boks “in some pain”, he said, before yesterday admitting that he was “lying” to himself about making the World Cup.
Smith had been given the deadline of playing 20 minutes off the bench against the Wallabies last week, then it was pushed back to this week’s match agaisnt the All Blacks, only for him to be sent home to the Cheetahs to see if he could play against the Pumas on Friday in the Currie Cup, but Smith has realised that he is not fit and is fooling himself.
“I won’t be able to give everything and realise I should put my team, team-mates and the Bok fans first. I must stop lying to myself – which is what I’ve been doing these last three weeks I have been back with the Boks – and accept that I’m not ready,” said Smith.
“I really cannot describe how immensely disappointed I am,” he said.
The silver lining to Smith’s removal from the equation is that it opens the door for ball-stealing dynamo Heinrich Brussow to give the Boks a new dimension on the openside flank, with Schalk Burger moving to blindside flank and Pierre Spies making up the loose trip at No 8.
August 17, 2011 Leave a comment
Maybe it was the close-range Butch James penalty attempt that wobbled adrift at a crucial time of the game at Kings Park last week, maybe it was an influential word from stand-in captain Victor Matfield in Peter de Villiers’ ear, or maybe it is indeed all part of the grand plan that James’ restoration at flyhalf would last just one match and then Morne Steyn would be reinstalled.
The impression had been that James would be given two games to impress – he was given one, and yesterday De Villiers suggested that the penny had finally dropped as to the only hope the Boks have of winning the World Cup.
“Butch is a brilliant flyhalf but, hey, it looks to me like the destiny of the World Cup will be dictated by penalty goals, and we sit with a 90 percent kicker in our country. I might be wrong but that is how I see it going,” the coach said.
“How will we know what stuff we need to work on with Morne Steyn if we don’t play him with the best players, and work on the little stuff we know can make a difference?” De Villiers explained. “I can’t disqualify him for trying to do his job overseas in the Tri-Nations without players he knows well. Morne needs to be assessed when he is around guys that he is comfortable with, and he has not had a chance to play with the top Boks for six months, so this was not a difficult choice at flyhalf, and it is the right one.”
Steyn for James was the eyebrow-raiser in the five changes made to the team that lost 14-9 to the Wallabies in Durban. The only injury-enforced change was at fullback where Patrick Lambie has come in from the Currie Cup cold to leapfrog Gio Aplon, who replaced hamstrung Frans Steyn midway through the Durban Test.
Danie Rossouw, who like John Smit has started in all three Tri-Nations matches, was always going to make way for Willem Alberts on the blindside flank, just as Smit is benched for Bismarck du Plessis, and there was mild surprise that in-form Beast Mtawarira has stepped down for Gurthro Steenkamp.
“If you look at the changes you will see our World Cup plan in operation,” said De Villiers. “If you take 30 guys to the World Cup, you have to give all 30 guys hope that they can play in the World Cup final. Back in May, I promised them all that they would get a fair chance, so it would have been stupid not to give them their game time now.”
De Villiers explained that he knows what he has in Aplon at fullback, and Lambie at flyhalf, but wants to have a look at Lambie at 15 at Test level.
“I played Gio against Australia in Australia, and he came on last week at fullback, he is an elusive runner, we know that. Lambie on other hand has so much talent, he is a fullback that can play at flyhalf and 12, which is great for us because it gives us options, so I must make use of this chance provided by an injury to Frans Steyn to have a closer look at Patrick.”
Smit has been at home in Durban recovering from flu but has been picked on the bench, and as far as his coach is concerned, Smit is back in form.
“John is ready for the World Cup. He did not have much game time in Super Rugby and if you look at how he played in Sydney in the first Test … well, he has improved steadily in each match. We have achieved exactly what we wanted to achieve with him in giving him three full games to get back into the groove, but then we also want to keep the competition going at hooker, so Bismarck gets his chance. I could not in good conscious go to the World Cup without having given Bismarck a fair go. That would have been unfair on him, on the team and the country. We planned this a long time ago and the whole country is looking forward to see what he can do.”
Likewise, De Villiers said that he needed to test Alberts against the best opposition because the Sharks flank is critical to the World Cup game plan.
And the thinking behind benching Beast was to give Steenkamp much needed game time after almost a year out injured. CJ van de Linde is promoted to the bench to provided cover at tighthead prop, the coach admitted (after Smit battled there last week).
Springboks: 15 Pat Lambie, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Victor Matfield (capt), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.
Substitutes: John Smit, Beast Mtawarira, CJ van der Linde, Danie Rossouw, Ashley Johnson, Francois Hougaard, Butch James.
MIKE GREENAWAY IN PORT ELIZABETH
August 16, 2011 Leave a comment
Springbok elder statesman Jean de Villiers called it like it really is for the Springboks when he emphatically said that a positive result against the All Blacks on Saturday will count more than anything else (World Cup planning, being the inference).
“Performance versus the result could potentially be a tough question (for other teams) in a World Cup year but as Springboks it is easy to answer … Representing South Africa comes down to winning, it is as simple as that,” the 30-year-old said proudly. “Winning is what you have to do when you pull on a Springbok jersey. Unfortunately we could not do that in Durban.”
De Villiers said that the Boks could not be satisfied with taking positives from the defeat to the Wallabies, their third successive Tri-Nations defeat this season and their eighth in their last nine matches in the competition.
“The bottom line is that we had to win at Kings Park and we didn’t. Winning was the ultimate goal last week, just as it is this week, no matter what is round the corner,” the 68-cap veteran said. “Look, hopefully if we improve the performance the result will take care of itself, but victory is the most important thing.”
The coaching staff has endeavoured to put a different spin on matters, so good on Jean de Villiers to cut to what really matters to players and fans alike.
De Villiers’ honesty extended to him dismissing the excuses that his team was rusty.
“I don’t buy the rustiness excuse. You can’t blame lack of game time because in the first half we played really well,” he said. “We were fine in the first half – it was in the second half that we lost the game, and it is just not good enough that we allowed them into the game to win it.”
The centre said that it was lamentable that his team could not score a single try for all their dominance of the Aussies in the half and he said much of that was down to efficiency at the breakdown.
“We have to concentrate on keeping the scoreboard ticking over when we are on top of teams,” he said. “We have to get quicker ball when we are dominating and then make good use of it. We were more than six points better than them at half time, and if just one try had been scored from the opportunities we created… well, that is the fine line between losing and winning a Test, and everybody saying we are on track for the World Cup or in crisis.”
De Villiers said that harsh words were exchanged between the players at a team meeting yesterday morning and “this will continue through the week”.
“We need to be better, we need to work harder and above all we need to win. And if we do that, then we will go to the World Cup in the right frame of mind.”
The fact that so many All Blacks on Saturday will be playing for World Cup places makes then more dangerous than ever, De Villiers said, no matter that they have left eight first-choice players at home.
“That is some carrot to play for – a place in the All Black squad for a World Cup on their own turf,” De Villiers said. “They have some very classy players here with a lot at stake. The All Blacks are no less dangerous or in any way weakened. For instance, just look at who they have here in the midfield and who else is in contention – Sonny Bill Williams has been fantastic in Super Rugby, Ma’a Nonu has been brilliant for the All Blacks this year, then there is Richard Kahui with much to prove, and Conrad Smith has had a good tournament…
“Flyhalf Colin Slade has everything to play for,” De Villiers continued. “He has proved his versatility in playing flyhalf, wing and fullback at Super Rugby level. He has great skill, a good kicking and passing game, and pace, so he is an all-round flyhalf and he will look forward to this opportunity of starting for New Zealand in South Africa, and it will be a big test for him.
“So yes, there is a lot for all of us to play for, and this will be a Springbok-All Blacks Test in the best of the tradition.”
by Mike Greenaway
August 16, 2011 Leave a comment
There was lofty praise indeed for Springbok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez yesterday when All Blacks backline coach Wayne Smith rated him as “the best footballer we have played against over the last eight years (the tenure of the current management team).
“Du Preez might be a bit rusty at the moment but he is an outstanding player,” Smith said, alluding to Du Preez getting the trajectory wrong on some of his aerial bombs at Kings Park last week in what was his first match for eight weeks and his first Test since 2009.
“He will add a new depth to their play,” said Smith, who played flyhalf for the rebel New Zealand Cavaliers team that toured South Africa in 1986.
But Smith has observed that the Boks are trying to grow their game beyond the kick-and-strategy that was so effective in 2009.
“There’s no doubt that they are looking to use the ball more. If you look at the Test we played in Wellington, we kicked the ball more than they did. Clearly they are trying to develop a game based on ball in hand,” he said.
“Having said that, they are still pretty dangerous with that kicking game, as well as their drives, so they can go back to Plan A if they feel the need. But what has changed is that teams have got better at taking the high ball,” Smith said. “A lot of emphasis has been put on that in the last three years and kicking has become more of a risk these days.”
Smith said the Boks’ Test match against the Wallabies in Durban had been a fascinating struggle.
“They played pretty well in the first 30 minutes and then ran out of steam, clearly. But I would say Peter de Villiers saw some things he would be pretty happy with and some things he would like to fix up. As they get more time on the track they are going to be very dangerous.
“The thing with the Boks is that they have a record of being able to win big matches, and I think that’s what they are counting on (going forward to the World Cup).”
August 12, 2011 Leave a comment
There was a defiant message to the South African public from Springbok coach Peter de Villiers yesterday, and one we have heard a few times from coaches over the years: “Judge us on Saturday,” he said after announcing the most experienced Springbok team in history (810 caps). “It is our own doing that people have lost a bit of faith in us,” he said. “You can’t expect otherwise if you keep in losing.”
The previously most experienced team (750 caps) lost in the last seconds to the Wallabies in Bloemfontein last year but perhaps of more significance than the tally of caps is the confirmation of two stars of 2009 in the line-up, scrumhalf general Fourie du Preez and cat burglar Heinrich Brussow.
Also returning to the team is flyhalf Butch James, and the last game he played in tandem with Fourie was the 53-8 annihilation of the Wallabies at Ellis Park in 2008 that came just seven days after they had beaten the Boks here in Durban, and De Villiers and stand-in captain Victor Matfield were booed off the Kings Park pitch.
And while tomorrow’s team was not responsible for the horror hidings in Wellington and Sydney last month – the only survivors in the run-on team are John Smit and Danie Rossouw – there is an impression that the Boks are in a similarly no-nonsense mood after seven defeats in their last eight Tri-Nations matches (they lost five out of six last year).
“The guys are determined to become the respected team they were two years ago,” De Villiers said. “That is motivation enough to win tomorrow (never mind a certain tournament looming around the corner). But at the same we can’t live in the past if we are to start winning consistently again. Yes you learn from your mistakes, and what happened overseas was not good for the country, but you can’t dwell too long on trying to rectify wrongs because then you lose focus on how to go forward.”
Selecting a brand new team helps, of course!
“There is a really good feeling about this squad because it is the first time in ages that they are all back together again,” the coach said. “Quite a few missed the November tour and Heinrich and Fourie have not played for two years, and they are world class players that have a big influence on the players around them. They bring an element to the team that has been missing (Brussow’s ability to steal ball and Du Preez’s vision and skill). They understand the heavy pressure on them, but then we pay them to play under pressure!”
Du Preez, who will win his 56th cap, was not so sure about that and said that while he embraced the responsibility of being a key playmaker, it is unfair to expect him to wave a magic wand.
“The pressure to put things right is on the whole squad,” he said. “A lot of work has been done to get us back on track and if we indeed perform better than 2010 it won’t be because of two players but because everyone has bought into delivering what is required.”
It was put to De Villiers that the experience in the team might not be matched by fire in the bellies now that the core of the team is coming to the end of their careers.
“It is a fair question because experience on its own wins you nothing. But I know these players very well and I can assure you they are still very hungry and for one reason only – they feed off each other’s professionalism and idea of responsibility. They understand what they can do for their country, the impact they can have on people’s lives.
“When you add their ability to their experience and understand the head space they are in, you will appreciate that we are at starting point for the next route for this team – one that will take them to the end of October.
The Wallabies have stiffened up their pack and certainly their lineout by selecting veteran lock Nathan Sharpe for Rob Simmons and No 8 Scott Higginbotham for Ben McCalman.
Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 James O’Connor, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom (capt), 5 James Horwill, 4 Nathan Sharpe, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sekope Kepu.
Substitutes: Saia Faingaa, Salesi Ma’afu, Sitaleki Timani, Radike Samo, Ben McCalman, Luke Burgess, Anthony Faingaa.
South Africa: 15 Frans Steyn, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Butch James, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Danie Rossouw, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 John Smit (c), 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Substitutes: Bismarck du Plessis, Gurthro Steenkamp, Gerhard Mostert, Jean Deysel, Francois Hougaard, Morne Steyn, Gio Aplon.
by Mike Greenaway
August 12, 2011 Leave a comment
A line of questioning to the Springbok players this week has been the issue of what is most important in the only two games the full-strength side will play before meeting Wales in Wellington on September 11 – wins no matter how they are achieved or solid foundations being laid against the top ranked teams in the world – even if this is done during losses – so that there is a launching pad to knock over Wales and then allow the Boks to pull themselves up the form ladder over the month of their Pool so that they hit the quarters in good shape.
Is winning a Test ever really a debate …?!!! But first let’s hear the argument of some of the younger players, who we won’t name. It was pointed out that all that is required to win a World Cup is seven wins in a row, not a dozen or more. Further, teams have made the semi-finals and finals having lost a game in the Pool stages. It has been said this week that in 2007 the under-strength Boks lost twice overseas and then the A team lost in Durban to the All Blacks in the corresponding feature to the one the Boks play this week against the Wallabies at Kings Park. A few months later they were world champions.
True enough, although remarkable circumstances meant the Boks did not have to play either of their Tri-Nations rivals on the way to playing England in the final, through no fault of the South Africans of course.
They almost certainly will not be so fortunate if they are make the final in 2011. The All Blacks loom in a potential semi-final and – let’s get way ahead of ourselves – the Wallabies in a final.
If the Boks cannot beat either of these teams in South Africa over the next fortnight, what chance of beating them overseas, we might ask, despite the contention that the Boks are ring-rusty to say the least seeing as nearly all of the front-liners have not played for nearly two months, and have spent a few weeks in slippers and gowns at the Rustenburg Rest & Respite, Comfort & Convalesence Camp? They have not, as one player let slip, been doing any training ground drills whatsoever, not that it matters because there is no remote substitute for game time.
Defeat on Saturday would be the third in a row for the Boks and they would go to Port Elizabeth having to stop the Kiwis from furthering their run of consecutive victories over the Boks to four.
Never mind the psychological damage of going to the World Cup winless in the Tri-Nations, there is the more practical and very accurate argument that it is much easier to improve your game from a winning position, and it is correspondingly difficult to convince yourself that you are on the right track and just have a few things to sort out when you have just lost.
Well the “A Team” Springboks that will play against Wales have not won since the victory over Australia at Loftus Versfeld last year, given that a mixture of a team toured in November.
It has taken the words of the most senior Springbok who will play on Saturday, Victor Matfield (he is a year older than John Smit and played one more Test – 105) to put the match in its correct context.
He said: “It is ridiculous to consider that anything has more relevance for us than winning the game. Every Test match is an episode on its own in Springbok rugby, and it has to be won. It is as simple as that, and if it is lost, it is a disaster.”
by Mike Greenaway
August 11, 2011 3 Comments
From Channel 24
“Day Two’s programme features what promises to be one of the most heated debates of Moshito 2011 – an examination of ‘Local broadcast content and compliance with the UN Convention on Cultural Diversity’ by a panel that includes Christa Rautenbach (Northwest University), and Anel du Plessis (Northwest University).”
It’s an old, cold war in South Africa; that broadcast – particularly radio – doesn’t do enough to represent and promote South African music. Ask any South African musician or band bar the Parlotones, and they’ll lament the lack of our own music on our commercial stations. For my own part, I don’t pretend to have solutions or even practical suggestions. But there are thousands of people who are passionate about what they believe is fair in the face of a monolithic, label-dominated music industry.
Some believe that it’s also an oversimplified debate. Music activist and industry veteran Martin Myers (now with Tuned In Publicity) maintains that the discussion around this issue can’t be meaningful unless we’re willing to include the broader structures of the music business.
“Things like a sustainable touring circuit are key to developing a market,” he says. “An artist like Robin Auld – who is a veteran of SA music – can sell more CDs touring than he can placing his discs in national retail. That shouldn’t be the case, but that it is should tell you where the opportunities for expansion lie.”
Speaking of which, history tells us that national music retail has not come to the party, and has largely sidestepped the accusatory glances whenever the issue has arisen. It costs the same for both an independent South African artist and a major label to place CDs on a shelf in a music store (not counting additional bulk discounting for the mass producer), despite an independent South African having a minimal budget to produce and promote the product in question.
Reality vs monopoly
You could say this is a reality of economics, but it’s also unsatisfactory to have this situation in a market of monopolies, which SA music retail has largely been up until now.
“Nobody has, for example, successfully explored the idea of in-store digital kiosks where consumers can buy singles from the SA artists, saving them production costs for full CDs,” says Myers. “Artists themselves could even think outside the box for marketing their music and their shows. Promotional tickets and giveaways via local vendors like restaurants is one idea.”
Online music stores like Rhythm Online have started making a mark, and plenty of online audio streams or “radio stations” have sprung up over the past few years; evidence of the demand for diversified interests, tastes and markets. But they remain constrained by access and bandwidth issues at least for the time-being.
It doesn’t seem like commercial radio intends to offer any olive branches in the near future. The most vociferous critics accuse them of hiding behind loopholes like “graveyard-hour play” and “repeat broadcasts” in filling the quota.
The business structures may argue that they’re simply meeting the demands of their “market”. Which seems to be the same market for all of them.
In any event, the idea of hearing a steady influx of new, independent SOUTH AFRICAN music on these channels is still a pipe-dream. And at least for the thousands of young musicians out in the clubs and pubs or in their garages, getting their voices heard may be as hard as… well, getting their voices heard.
Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition takes place from August 31st to September 2nd at the Sci Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown, Johannesburg.