A Rugby score 16 -52 at Loftus and an unexpected surprise

THE last two occasions the Springboks hosted the All Blacks in Pretoria the visitors behaved rather rudely, trashing Loftus Versfeld to the tune of 16-52 in 2003 and three years later crushing Jake White’s Boks 45-26.

That opening statement written by my mate Mike Greenaway (16 -52 at Loftus ) inspired me to reflect on a wonderful by product that came out of that fateful day if you supported the Boks.

I was at the game -dressed in Black (All Black = think mad ! ) and I had beers thrown at me and my dear mate Rob Viviani who was with me had a smile all afternoon on his face as I coped abuse from 150kg men who drove bakkies and who thought I was fair game on the walk to the stadium . It was a glorious match.You could hear a pin drop at the final score .I remember walking back past those self same supporters who where a bit better oiled with klippies and coke and the odd beer to be greeted with the words -Julle Manne het goed gespeel -Drunk and gracious -what a combination

That evening I got phoned by my friend Samm Marshall who was on Good Hope FM at the time and asked to be on air on Sunday morning -to talk about the game …I loved this and had a good old cackle .

Good radio indeed -Good Hope loved the chirps and asked me to do a regular once a week chat on a Saturday. This went on for a number of months until Heart FM under the then direction of Selwyn Bartlett heard about the show and offered me a slot on Heart 104.9fm -To shorten the whole story On the Couch was invented or #OTC as it was called and this show ran till 2016 -We had fantastic presenters Fiona Furey ,the late great AZ Abrahams ,Peter Stemmet ,Sam Roy ,Rob Vember and then Tapfuma Makina .We first started with a 15min chat and then it went from 8-9am and then settled on 9 to 10am.

We had the good and the great on the show -The glorious time was during the 2007 World Cup in France ,We had regular crossings to Mike -The chats had color and depth and I think our French even improved.

Mike Greenway even went on to write John Smit’s book “Captain in the Cauldron” a best seller might I add and one of the sureal moments on radio was when the Cape Town book launch happened it was the night before the world cup draw 2010 -which took place on Friday night .We had arranged to speak to Mike on the Saturday as he was leaving to go back to Durban and when we called after about 2 sentences he gave the phone to John Smit and said you chat to him – Wild amazing radio totally off the cuff and unplanned – Smitty had also just done the world cup opening the night before .

I even got to be published for a few years and wrote for SA Rugby Magazine doing a Proust type questionaire .I got the names to do it: Andrew Merthens,Richie McCaw ,and all the top SA rugby players ,It was great fun ,this writing lasted for about 2 years.

I digress back to the rugby stories. Mike and I met at BMG records in 1996 at at music conference ,when the music business was the business ,I will never forget during the one talk by Dave Thompson (he of Idols fame ),Mike mentions ,”Mart cover for me ,I must do a quick phone interview with Mark Andrews ,my reply is ..uck he is a Springbok Rugby player and Mike says yes I also do rugby writing” .Well that sealed a friendship that is still going strong today .He is by far the best writer in the country ,not because he is my mate ,but because the color and opinion is so good and he is normally correct -The bugger ,but we still love him for that .

I remember one year going Durban with my girlfriend Razia (who became my wife ,this must have been 2008 or 2009 ) to see the mighty Sharks on a crest of a wave up against the Crusaders (my side ).McCaw had just come back from an injury layoff and Mike tells me your side stands no chance ,Well mighty McCaw dragged the Sharks around and single handily made mince meat of the Sharks ..I was furious with Green -telling me the Saders had no chance .

When my mom passed away in 2001 Mike and I made a pact we won’t miss All Black games -We have been to Rustenberg (Andre Pretorius saved the Boks bacon that day )
Bloemfontein and Durban for consecutive test matchs -All Blacks lost both and Boks became the number 1 side .We had great fun.even John Smit came to pick up Greenaway to continue writing the book he was doing and drove Greenaway back to Durban -I had the piss taken out of me because I had an All Black shirt on …

We have seen the AB’S in PE in 2011 -The AB’S lost and then last year at Newlands I saw a glorious win by 1 point -Who cares the Blacks won.

Stuart Rubin my great mate came to watch the Boks take it up the nought at Newlands 19 -nil ….What a weekend that was.

I have had Sipho Mabuse sing the SA national anthem at an All Black game at FNB Stadium -The Boks got smashed that day, but the anthem singing was the redeeming feature of the day .

So the motto is when I am at a game in SA the Boks sometimes win, but it wont happen this coming weekend 6 Oct 2018 -The ghost of van Riebeeck won’t appear ,but the AB’S will win by 15 points or more and Mike thank you pushing me all those years ago when my mom passed away -and saying we not missing an All Black game.

Selection of photos from MYERS FAMILY 2015 a great year and most important my daughter Casey turned 15

a Selection of pics from the Myers family for 2015 -Thank you for a great year especially my wife and daughter who support me unconditionally and my friends who always see a positive outcome. -THANK YOU

In New Zealand rugby, their idea of a crisis is a losing sequence of one-game in a row

In New Zealand rugby, their idea of a crisis is a losing sequence of one-game in a row. Heck even a draw against Australia a fortnight ago got them into a tizz, prompting coach Steve Hansen to call for a week of serious introspection “from myself down to the waterboy.”

The country was seriously miffed and the fact that the 12-12 draw with the Wallabies in Sydney denied this All Blacks team the chance to break the world record of 17 consecutive wins had a lot to do with it.

The result was 50 points put past the Aussies in the return game in Auckland at the weekend in a performance that was quite possibly the best of the professional era. It really was that good. The Wallabies should have known better – don’t make the All Blacks angry!

Later on that day, we watched the Springboks labour to a narrow win over the Pumas in Argentina, in the process suffering the ignominy of being repeatedly shoved off their ball in the set scrums. Some big Springbok reputations took a knock and it will be interesting to see how the tight forwards respond against the Wallabies in Perth next week.

But back to the All Blacks and their ruthlessly efficient performance. They played the game at a tempo rarely seen and with an intensity that no other team in world rugby can match. The Wallabies did not play that badly, but they simply could not live with the raw power and aggression of the super-charged Kiwis.

The Boks’ underwhelming performances against Argentina – in the wet of Pretoria and the stifling heat of Salsa – left South Africans depressed about our chances of beating the All Blacks this year, in Wellington and then at Ellis Park in the final match of the Championship.

The funny thing is that it is not impossible to beat the All Blacks if you play the right game. It IS impossible to beat the All Blacks if you try and match their game. They are too strong and too fit. We saw that last year when the Boks took on the All Blacks at their own game in that memorable match at Ellis Park. The Boks were trying to score four tries to earn a bonus-point win and secure the Championship, and they looked the part for three-quarters of the game before running out of steam and the Kiwis ran in three tries without reply in the final quarter.

Heyneke Meyer was the first one to acknowledge that the Boks were not fit enough that day. At the end of last year’s tour to the northern hemisphere he said the same thing again – South African rugby lags behind New Zealand rugby when it comes to conditioning. Meyer called for a national conditioning programme to be run by his fitness team. He knew it would never happen because our Super Rugby franchises own the players and follow their own programmes as well as play leading players into the ground out of self interest. The Bok coach plays second fiddle.

The New Zealand Rugby Union owns their players, not the franchises and Hansen and his management team call the shots, ensuring players are fit through a national programme and that senior players are rested.

In 2009, the Springboks beat the All Blacks three times, including a win in Hamilton, the last time the All Blacks lost a Test on home soil. The Boks did it with a highly effective kick-and-chase game. They sucked the All Blacks into trench warfare and avoided high-paced, attacking rugby.

The Boks have to cut their suit according to their cloth. It might not be as entertaining as the way the All Blacks play, but it is the only way the Boks can beat them.

By Mike Greenaway

All Blacks bite back to secure Bledisloe glory 51 -20

Retribution indeed.

Moral of the story? Don’t make the All Blacks’ forwards angry. They will bite back.

Seven days is a long time in sport – an even longer time to stew on a poor performance. Very rarely do you see the All Blacks miss their lofty standards by such a margin as they did in the dour Sydney draw last week. Yes, the conditions were difficult. Yes, the referee had a shocker. In the end, they are excuses.

Tonight, instead, was an explosion of pent-up frustration, particularly from the bigger boys in black. They deserve the credit for locking away the treasured Bledisloe Cup for a 12th straight year. The backs sure couldn’t have recorded this 51-20 recoding breaking victory – the most points at home against the Wallabies – without them.

The big difference between Sydney and Auckland was the physical aggression of Steve Hansen’s forward pack. This week they did the dirty work.

They cleaned out rucks with vigour; they flew off the line and whacked those in green and gold jerseys with tag-team tackling. Dane Coles was a force with ball in hand; Brodie Retallick thundered into everything and Kieran Read was back to his usual prominence.

Collectively, as an eight-man unit, they rattled the Australians to lay an exemplary platform. They were ruthless.

By the 50th minute, when Read crashed over, the visitors were stuffed – the All Blacks’ brutal mix of fast-paced counter attack and crunching defence had grinded them into the turf. After that, it just seemed cruel. Almost like bullying at the school playground.

Not even Richie McCaw’s fair yellow card for cynically playing the ball on the ground could stop his men. The same could not be said for the Wallabies pack – sent backpedalling in the first scrum after Sam Carter was binned for infringing at the maul. Carter’s card proved much more costly, his side conceding (14 points) two tries – one a penalty try from a five metre scrum shunt – while he was off the park.

If it wasn’t already a proven fact, we can also now confirm there’s something undeniably special about Eden Park. The venue continues its fortress status – 20 years and 33 tests since the All Blacks last lost there. It’s going to take a damn good team to break that record.

Down 23-6 at half time, the Wallabies’ decision to stay on the field, rather than retreat to the changing rooms, in a bid to diminish the ground’s mystique looked laughable. Clearly changing hotels didn’t work either.

The 50,000 sell-out crowd were treated as the All Blacks ran in six tries. Many of those were orchestrated by Aaron Cruden.

After a sub-par performance in Sydney, Cruden’s game management was superb. On the back of a supremely dominant forward display he thrived with the time, space and freedom all playmakers desire. The short kicking options, delayed passing and running game – Cruden’s full range of skills were on display.

With Ben Smith chiming in frequently from the back, the All Blacks’ left-side attack was lethal, allowing Julian Savea to run rampant down his flank. Conrad Smith’s return to the backline – after missing last week with the birth of his first son – can also not be glossed over. There were some notably telling touches from the classy centre.

Filling Ma’a Nonu’s considerable shoes, Ryan Crotty can be pleased with his contribution before succumbing to a cheek bone injury at half time.

This was a crushing reality check for Ewen McKenzie’s men. They thought they had turned the corner. After arriving with the knowledge they blew a gift chance last week, they leave with their eight match unbeaten run well and truly quashed. They’ve got some work to do yet before their forward pack is not seen as having a soft underbelly.

McCaw and co. hold higher standards than the average team and they won’t be happy about letting in two soft tries to Israel Folau and Michael Hooper late in the second half. They can’t afford such slip ups against South Africa in the coming weeks.

But, for now, they will savour sipping from the Bledisloe.

SCOREBOARD

All Blacks 51 penalty try, Julian Savea, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw 2, Steven Luatua, Aaron Cruden pen 3, con 5, Aaron Smith con Wallabies 20 Israel Folau, Michael Hooper tries, Kurtley Beale pen 2, con 2 HT: 23-6.

– Stuff

 

Rugby Championship 2013 -My take on things

Well it all starts on Saturday in Sydney -All Blacks vs Australia . and then latter that day Boks vs Argentina

The simple point to make is the Boks will always have a Steyn or Van Der Merwe to be competitive ,but to win the 2013 competition they have no chance.

Forget the waffle one hears on Supersport ,this Bok team is average at best .What are you saying by bringing back Fourie Du Preez and Pienaar at 9 for the Boks is a one trick pony.

The Boks will loose both the tour matches one in Brisbane and the other at Eden Park against the All Blacks , but to be fair not many teams do win at fortress Eden Park.

So where does it leave the Boks? -3rd at best and mind you they could trip up at Newlands -A Steyn penalty in the dying minutes saved them last time out against Australia and by the time the Boks play the All Blacks on 6 Oct at Ellis Park it could be all over by then .

All Blacks champs again for 2013 ?

SUPER RUGBY SEMI-FINAL PREVIEW – Chiefs versus Crusaders

The Crusaders 28-13 win over the Bulls in Christchurch on Saturday night sets up a huge Kiwi derby, with the seven-time champions (the fourth placed wildcard qualifiers) travelling north to Hamilton to take on the Chiefs at Waikato Stadium in the Super Rugby Semi-Finals tomorrow night.

The Chiefs, second place finishers overall on the table and New Zealand Conference champions, had a break during the first week of the Super Rugby Finals Series, and will look to prove their status as the new top dogs in NZ rugby as the competition’s benchmark team arrives in town.

The Crusaders, beaten finalists last year and seven-time winners, have remained by-and-large the best franchise in New Zealand since 1998, but if one team looks capable of taking over that mantle, it is the Chiefs.

The Chiefs will be confident with home comforts, having established a franchise record six straight wins at Waikato Stadium this season, while setting a new New Zealand record for most wins achieved (with 12) during the regular season.

Yet the Crusaders ended that run at home at the beginning of the month, continuing their solid form on the road with their fifth win in eight matches away this year.

If the Chiefs are to emerge from the might of the Crusaders, they will need to join the Bulls as the only franchise ever to defeat the red and blacks in a Super Rugby Semi-Final, and overcome a recent record that has just one win for the New Zealand Conference champions over their incoming visitors in their last five matches.

Never has a New Zealand Conference team, with the exception of the Blues in 2003 when they won their third title, stopped the Crusaders during the Super Rugby Finals Series, so if the Chiefs can do the business in front of their home crowd – there will be high hopes for a tickertape parade in Hamilton in the weeks to come.

MATCH DETAILS:

Friday, 27 July, 2012
Chiefs v Crusaders
Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand
Kick off (1935 local, 1935 NZT, 1735 NSW/ACT,0935 SAT, 0735 GMT)
Referee Craig Joubert
AR Jonathan Kaplan
AR Keith Brown
TMO Garratt Williamson

HEAD TO HEAD:

Played 19: Crusaders 14, Chiefs 5

Points aggregate: Chiefs 373, Crusaders 549

Tries aggregate: Chiefs 32, Crusaders 57

Last match: Chiefs 21 – 28 Crusaders @ Waikato Stadium, Hamilton (2012SR, RD17)

Record in Hamilton/Tauranga/Albany – Played 10, Chiefs 3, Crusaders 7

Record in Super Rugby Finals Series – MAIDEN MATCH

Chiefs 2012 Record – Played 16, Won 12, Lost 4

444 PF (4th overall), 358 PA (6th overall), 47 tries (3rd equal overall)

Crusaders 2012 Record – Played 16, Won 11, Lost 5,

485 PF (2nd overall), 342 PA (3rd overall), 47 tries (3rd equal overall)

TEAMS:

Chiefs: 15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Andrew Horrell, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Kane Thompson, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (captain), 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Sona Taumalolo.

Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Ben Afeaki, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Jackson Willison, 22 Lelia Masaga.

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Adam Whitelock, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Richie McCaw (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.

Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Tom Donnelly, 19 Luke Whitelock, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Tom Taylor, 22 Sean Maitland.

The Reds host the Crusaders in the Super Rugby Final 2011

The Reds host the Crusaders in the Super Rugby Final at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday, bringing the curtain down on a 2011 season that saw the tournament adopt a new “Conference” format with the addition of a fifteenth team.

In the 16 years of Super Rugby history since 1996, the Crusaders been the dominant superpower whilst the Reds have regularly performed below their potential.

In 1996, the Reds were considered in most quarters to be the strongest team in the competition, having claimed the Super 10 championship in the two years previous. Under John “Knuckles” Connelly, the Reds had emerged as not only the strongest rugby state in Australia, but formed the backbone of the Wallabies team. John Eales, Michael Lynagh, Toutai Kefu and Tim Horan were the key players in Reds jerseys that not only were Test stars, but players that would have waltzed into a world selection picked by most rugby aficionados.

This strength was demonstrated after the side finished top of the table, a feat duplicated in 1999 and again this season.

The Crusaders were a proud region but lived firmly under the shadow of the Blues. The key feeder union to the franchise, Canterbury hadn’t won a title since 1983 (the now defunct Division One NPC), while Auckland were in the midst of a glorious run, and even Otago and Waikato had recently claimed domestic titles. With Vance Stewart the inaugural coach, and hard as nails All Blacks prop Richard Loe the captain, the Crusaders finished the maiden season of Super Rugby with the wooden-spoon.

The different statuses of the two teams was aptly demonstrated when the Reds entertained the Crusaders at home and ran out 52-16 winners, which until this year’s 53-3 defeat of the Rebels was their highest ever points scored. Eales scored 22 points that day, as the Reds scored six tries to one.

Yet any indicator that the Crusaders were going to be the Reds ‘whipping boys’ was firmly dismissed during the 1997 season, when the Reds travelled to Christchurch and lost 48-3, in what was informally the last game at Lancaster Park. To this day that result stands as the second worst defeat suffered by a Reds team.

The portents were there that the Crusaders could become a power, as that year Wayne Smith took over the coaching reigns, appointing industrious loose forward Todd Blackadder as his captain.

In 1998 few would have predicted early in the season that the Crusaders would win the title, suffering three losses in their first four matches, including a 35-9 defeat inflicted on them by the Reds in Brisbane. However the Crusaders would have the last laugh, as the Reds lost back-to-back games – to the Sharks and Brumbies – while the champions-elect won their last two matches in South Africa – beating the Cats and Sharks – to give them their first Super Rugby Semi-Final appearance. That season would see the Crusaders claim their first crown.

The 1999 Super 12 season would see the Reds again finish top-of-the-table, confirming their pedigree with a 36-23 win over the Crusaders in Christchurch. The Crusaders, with a new coach in Robbie Deans, would win their third title in a row – and still remain the only team to have accomplished this feat.

The defending champions sneaked into the knockout stages placed fourth, but would create history by winning the title with consecutive playoff matches away from home – first defeating the Reds 28-22, before going on to beat the Highlanders in Dunedin. That result would begin an 11 match winning streak for the Crusaders over the Reds.

In 2000 long serving Reds coach John Connelly would step down, with Mark McBain taking over the reins.

For the next ten years though it would be a one-sided rivalry with the Crusaders dominant:

2000: 27-19 in Brisbane
2001: 32-26 in Christchurch
2002: 34-27 in Brisbane
2003: 34-6 in Christchurch
2004: 20-17 in Brisbane
2005: 59-24 in Christchurch
2006: 47-21 in Brisbane
2007: 33-22 in Christchurch
2008: 27-21 in Brisbane
2009: 32-12 in Christchurch

Deans would ensure the Crusaders would be blessed with coaching consistency, leaving his post as the longest serving Super Rugby coach to take up the Wallabies’ coaching post. The Reds saw Andrew Slack replace McBain in 2003, while Jeff Miller (2004 to 2006), Eddie Jones (2007) and Phil Mooney (2008 to 2009) tried their hand at a Reds revivial.

While the Crusaders confirmed their legacy as one of the greatest ‘provincial’ teams in world rugby, with seven titles, the Reds struggled, with six years of bottom-three finishes.

Yet, if one game was to encapsulate the change in fortunes for the Reds, it would be against the Crusaders, who arrived at Suncorp Stadium in 2010 with an 11-year winning record against their opponents. Certainly the Reds were hoping for a change of fortunes, knowing that in their last two matches in Brisbane against the Crusaders, they had led at half-time.

Enter Quade Cooper and the Reds, as the mercurial flyhalf scored a Reds record 31 points (beating Elton Flatley’s mark of 26) en route to a remarkable 41-20 upset. Cooper scored two tries while Digby Ioane and Rod Davies added one each.

This season saw another classic played out between the sides in Brisbane; the Reds snatching the honours 17-16 with a last gasp penalty by Cooper.

Their storied rivalry continues this weekend, as the 2011 Super Rugby Final gets ready to be played out by two teams whose marvellous history will record another chapter on July 9.

The final commences at 19h40 EST (21h40 NZ and 11h40 SA).

HEAD TO HEAD

Played 17, Crusaders 12, Reds 5
In Brisbane: Played 10, Reds 4, Crusaders 6
Tries scored: Crusaders 60, Reds 41
Points scored: Crusaders 505, Reds 401
Aggregate scoreline: Crusaders 30 – 24 Reds

%d bloggers like this: