Pictures from Captains walk about at Newlands which featured the All Blacks today ahead of Saturday’s 7 October date with the Springboks

Advertisements

André Venter presents match day jerseys to Springboks

Former Springbok flank André Venter presented the Springboks with their match jerseys on Friday morning at their team hotel in Cape Town.

photo credit -Gallo images /SA Rugby

Venter played in 66 Tests for the Springboks between 1996 and 2001 and was a member of the team that won the bronze medal at the 1999 Rugby World Cup in the United Kingdom.

He has been in a wheelchair in recent years after being struck down by a degenerative syndrome of the central nervous system called transverse myelitis. He is a successful businessman and also a motivational speaker.

Venter shared some inspirational words with the Springboks before he presented the match 23 with their playing jerseys for Saturday’s clash with New Zealand.

“I can see there is something special happening within this group,” said Venter to the current crop of Springboks, and urged the players to embrace the responsibility of wearing the Green and Gold.

“It is important to believe in what you’re doing and where you’re heading. The Springboks have an unbelievable history and you must be able to write your own chapter.”

Venter had the honour to present the Bok players with their jerseys on two previous occasions, and said he was extremely grateful and blessed to do so for a third time. The honour of playing for the team and your country is something that is not easy to describe, explained Venter.

“Only when you’re no longer playing and not part of that unique circle anymore, that is when it dawns on you how special the Springbok environment is. My advice to the players is to enjoy the experience and to make a telling contribution to the rich story of the Springboks,” said Venter.

Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth described Venter as probably the hardest man ever to play for the Springboks: “He epitomises everything you want in a great Springbok, so it was an unbelievable honour to receive our Test jerseys from Andre.”

The Springboks tackle New Zealand tomorrow in a 17h05 kick off at DHL Newlands, the two teams’ final fixture of the 2017 Castle Lager Rugby Championship.

Issued by SA Rugby Communications

Happy snaps of Springbok team photo Friday morning ahead of the test mach on Saturday against All Blacks

Rested All Blacks slot straight in to match day team to play Springboks at Newlands

The All Blacks team to play South Africa at Newlands Stadium, Cape Town, this Saturday 7 October 2017 is :

The matchday 23 (with Test caps in brackets) is:

1. Kane Hames (4)
2. Dane Coles (53)
3. Nepo Laulala (8)
4. Samuel Whitelock (91)
5. Scott Barrett (12)
6. Liam Squire (11)
7. Sam Cane (48)
8. Kieran Read (105) – Captain
9. Aaron Smith (66)
10. Beauden Barrett (58)
11. Rieko Ioane (8)
12. Sonny Bill Williams (41)
13. Ryan Crotty (30)
14. Nehe Milner-Skudder (10)
15. Damian McKenzie (7)

16. Codie Taylor (24)
17. Wyatt Crockett (66)
18. Ofa Tu’ungafasi (9)
19. Patrick Tuipulotu (13)
20. Matt Todd (9)
21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow (26)
22. Lima Sopoaga (11)
23. David Havili (1)

As expected, the five All Blacks who came to South Africa early ( the holiday makers who spent time on Camps Bay beach see pic below ) have all been named in the matchday 23.

Samuel Whitelock returns to the second row alongside Scott Barrett, Liam Squire is at blindside flanker and Sam Cane is at openside, with Matt Todd moving to the bench.

In the backs, Ryan Crotty has been named at centre, while Nehe Milner-Skudder is on the right wing.

Tawera Kerr-Barlow has been named at reserve halfback while Lima Sopoaga provides additional back cover alongside David Havili.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “We’ve settled in well in Cape Town this week.

However, our preparation has been different because of the need to recover well from all the travel.

This has meant that there’s been less time on the park and an even greater emphasis than normal on the mental side of our preparation.

As always, getting real clarity of our roles and how we want to play has been key.

“We know we’ll be playing a proud Springbok side which will be determined to rectify what happened in Albany.

While it’s necessary for us to try and anticipate what they’re going to bring to the match, it’s more important for us to focus on what we’re going to bring to the encounter.

Our skill execution, our physicality and our ability to play our ‘triple threat’ game will be critical.

“The team is really looking forward to playing at Newlands after a nine-year absence.

The beach boys: Squire ,Cane ,Sopoaga.Whitelock,Crotty -Camps Bay Beach

“We know we have a huge fanbase here and the hospitality and reception we have received from the local folks has been fantastic.”

Key notes:

• The All Blacks and South Africa have played each other 94 times, with 56 wins to the All Blacks, 35 to South Africa and three draws.

• The All Blacks have scored 49 tries this year, so the next one makes 50 – and that will be the 13th time this century. It is ten years since any other team has reached 50 tries.

• This will be the tenth time the All Blacks have played South Africa at Newlands.

The last match there was in 2008, which the All Blacks won 19-0.

The Boks took it up the nought ..I was at that game along with Stuart Rubin marketing boss for BMG Records and the next year we did the 1st Music Exchange conference.

• David Havili’s debut try last weekend was the 100th Test match try converted by Beauden Barrett.

As well, Barrett has already equalled his last year’s Investec Rugby Championship record of 23 conversions for the season. The all-time record for the All Blacks is 27.

• Barrett and his teammate Damian McKenzie have each made 57 carries this campaign, more than any other player at the tournament.

• The All Blacks won The Rugby Championship in 2012 – 2014 and again in 2016 and 2017, have held the Freedom Cup (played between New Zealand and South Africa) since 2010 and the Bledisloe Cup (played between New Zealand and Australia) since 2003.

All Blacks assistant coach speaks about Success

On Tuesday in the leafy suburb of Newlands assistant coach Ian Foster rolled into the press conference bang on time at 12h30 and proceeded to hold court for 20 mins in an engaging conversation, even having to navigate the proverbial silly question that always rears its head be it a visiting rugby team or music star “Please have you got some words for all you Cape Fans “ – cringe.

This writer went the more cerebral route and took a leaf out of the management books and asked the question about Success and how ,success can be a bad teacher.

Ian’s answer was short and crisp yet rather telling in that you measure success with results ( the world looks at success as a win or loss ) and you could even break a game down into sections as well .”The previous week we had a successful 1st half against Argentina yet the 2nd half was not as crisp.

“How successfully did we play ? Can we get better? -Yes we can. and that is what drives us.” remarked Ian Foster

Their is no complacency in what we want to do -We want to put on an 80 min performance ”

Ominous warning indeed even after the 57 nil demolition of the Boks in Albany a few weeks back.

“It was a special game,but we did not perform the week after that .”

“What happens in the past is poor indicator for future performances.” This test on Saturday will be special ,in fact all test matches against the Boks are special test matches .

“The Boks bring out the best in us for sure .SA vs All Blacks you have to be 100% otherwise you feel it.”

After Ian spoke Dane Coles and Sam Whitelock discussed forward play and getting the body and time clock ready for the week.

Not too much on the field running around is key this week and today Wednesday is the day off for the team .The All Blacks name their team on Thursday morning.

Bok need to be accurate says the rugby writer Mike Greenaway

When Sean Fitzpatrick was still playing for the All Blacks he was once asked if he could give the Old Foe a tip on how to get back to winning ways (the Boks were having a bad run).

“Just do what has always come naturally to you, it worked for a hundred years.” Fitzy smiled.

Well the hooker has been long retired and while he was referring to what worked for the Boks in the amateur era when they were naturally bigger and stronger than most opponents, we have seen that the game is ever-evolving away from was successful for the Boks for so long.

South African teams can no longer bully anybody. It was fun in the old days to play skinny accountants, doctors and lawyers from England, Ireland Scotland etc because the farmers from South Africa were brutes. New Zealand were not too scrawny themselves comprising so many sheep farmers and the coal miners of Wales were also a brawny lot.

In the professional era, everybody is much of a muchness, physically. It is no longer a case of training in the evenings twice a week after work and playing a match on Saturday. Now everybody is the gym five days a week and taking the same body building supplements. South Africans no longer have a size advantage and running through opponents no longer works.

The cornerstone of successful Springbok teams in the past was immaculate set pieces, fierce driving mauls, kicking for territory and kicking goals.

It sounds a bit like how the Springboks won the World Cup in 2007. Jake White rugby had its merits in that it was hard to lose if you had the right personnel in place to run the conservative strategy, but it was not a style that would win you a prize for good fellowship.

And 10 years on, the game has moved on. You have to be able to score tries as well as kick goals, but if you are going to be cavalier in your approach, you need the necessary skills.

I thought the Springboks against Australia were a little to helter skelter about their approach. Running everything becomes as predictable as kicking everything.

The All Blacks have hoodwinked so many people into thinking that they are the most adventurous team on the planet but the statistics will tell you that they kick more than any other team in world rugby. They take no chances and if nothing is on in their half, they kick intelligently — with a contestable kick that will give them a chance to get the ball back or they probe for territory.

But, and it is big but, if they are in their own 22, and they spot a gap or an overlap, they will run at you and inevitably score. They score so many tries not because they have a devil-may-care attitude but because they are highly skilled, incredibly fit and utterly ruthless in exposing a crack in your defence.

And they are patient. So many teams have thought they were in the game against the All Blacks because there was not much of a points difference as the game hit the three-quarter approach, and suddenly the Kiwis have run in four or five tries. No other team can live with the All Blacks in the last 20 because they run out of steam.

The Boks should be praised for their positive approach but they need to understand that they can’t run the ball for the sake of it when their pack is being out scrummed or they are battling in the lineouts. A backline that is running onto the ball at pace asks questions of the defence. A backline that is getting slow ball is at the mercy of the approaching defence and tends to move sideways.

It really is about decision-making in the heat of battle. If it is “on” then have the confidence to have a go, wherever you are on the field, but if it is not on be patient.

The Boks need to calm down a touch on attack, they need to get their set pieces sorted out, vary their tactics, and then attack with venom and skill when the opportunities arise.

By Mike Greenaway

Personal reflections on Day 1 of the build up to Saturday 7th October -Springboks vs All Blacks

What a remarkable day on two sides of the Peninsula with the Springboks and All Blacks in town

-In the centre of town at 12h30 sharp the ever efficient Bok media officer rolled in the Bok coach old Alistair Coetzee .He looked pensive and proceeded to discuss how he thought the Boks did well on Saturday in their 27 all draw .

His body language spoke of a man under pressure and even the attempted odd piece of humour seemed to fall flat .

The Cape media are well known for asking the odd probing question with one member of the media gang asking is the Bok Coach a dead man walking? and what did he make of one of his team members outbursts on twitter .

I have never engaged with Brendan Venter ( he seems a nice enough bloke ) but being media savy I am not so sure.

His tweets got taken out of context and surely he could have put out a lovely comprehensive media release regarding the pros and cons of the Boks development instead of trying to debate the drawn match in 140 characters .

The meet and greet latter that afternoon at the Cape Town stadium also only had a few 100 people ,which is a shame ,because the players are decent men ,under a huge amount of scrutiny and the coach is not exactly putting out the most coherent or positive message .

I got told by one of my media colleagues from Durban the Boks will lose on Saturday ,It is only the margin that is in question and one can’t argue with that statement .

The Boks dont seem to have blooded enough players and given the bench players a good enough run and players who where in the frame like Curwin Bosch earlier in the season are now sitting twiddling their thumbs while other players namely Pollard come back into the team on reputation only having been out injured for a while.

BUT …Across town in the leafy suburb of Newlands the All Blacks rode into town like rock stars ( a 5 star hotel no less ) ..it helps when you have real currency at your disposal and they proceeded to turn on the charm offensive .

Steve Hansen spoke in glowing terms about the challenge on Saturday and how they love playing the Boks and he also spoke about the thinking of bringing some players over earlier, namely stars Sam Cane ,Ryan Cotty and Sam Whitelock et al, who could be seen sunning themselves on Camps Bay and visiting Mynt cafe over the weekend .

The challenge the coach remarked is to keep the top players fresh for the end of year tour of the Northern Hemisphere .Sam Cane was then rolled out to the media and again spoke of the challenge that lies ahead on Saturday .The pressure will surely rise during the week ,but I have no doubt the All Blacks want to build on the 57 nil demolition they did in Albany over the Boks two weeks ago

The stakes are high as the South African rugby public are an unforgiving lot and they want to see the Boks improve .

The last time the All Blacks played at Newlands was 2008 ,I was still at BMG Records , and now in 2017 some 9 years latter I get to go see the test match with my wife and daughter who is 17 and wonder if the Boks will take it up the nought again . They did in 2008 the score was 19 nil .

Steve Hansen knows what to do to get the rock stars to click .If they put on an 80 min display the score could get ugly.

Lets see what the fox has up his sleeve prior to selecting the team ,but he has all the aces and the joker to play with. Who will deal the first hand, Blacks or Boks.

%d bloggers like this: