Captained Rhodesia 1962 – 1969 Rector of Michaelhouse. (1978-1986)
"Rugby is a thinking game – its’ not a running or a kicking game. This mania for running with the ball and playing open rugby at all costs is stupid – you must adapt yourself to the circumstances and play to your strength"
Now 50 years later Niel Jardine writes for Frosty ...
So the big match has come and gone. In many ways very disappointing. No contest really although the Boks battled bravely for 50 minutes with 14 men against 15.Even taking that into account, our defence was just not good enough. Read's driving from the mauls and broken play was outstanding and the Boks can hardly be blamed for his try under the posts. Retallick's try was another thing entirely. Where were out defenders? I think Jannie du Plessis, who had a shocking game on defence, missing three vital tackles and Morne Steyn one on Retallick who went over from twenty metres out. I'm a great one for thinking the performance of the front five in the scrums is overrated in terms of what actually happens after the scrum. I'll stick with that attitude proudly but I did get a hell of a kick when we pushed them over and disrupted them in the first scrum. Alas there was to be little more of that after Bismarck left the field of play. I have no problem with the yellow card for the elbow to Messum's throat but the so-called high, 'no-arms' tackle in the first half was as bad a decision as I've ever seen. First, Bismarck DID use his arms, then they were BELOW the shoulder! Are you like me becoming a bit sick of the constant referrals to the TMO? It slows the game down, the refs have lost their confidence, they already have two assistants on the touch line and they STILL want to consult the TMO! That makes FOUR! The eyesight of all should be checked regularly. I mean how did the 'assistant ref' miss the perfectly legal tackle of Bismarck early on? He was five metres from it.
So, the refs have whistles, ear-pieces, intercoms - so now? White sticks and guide dogs?
From a Bok point of view best piece of play involved Steyn, KIrschner and Lambie. The diagonal kick by Steyn was perfectly weighted, Kirschner's back flip so inventive and then Lambie 'stayed' in his tackle, kept calm and reached over to score. (By the way, have you ever seen Lambie miss a tackle? I haven't.)
I found myself thinking about two things during the Test: one, what are the fly half's options In the 22 after 'pick-and-drives' have failed? Get the extra man in and swing it wide? Run different angles? Kirschner at full pace running straight? Grubber? (The grubber was used well in this match apart from one from Barrett which went twice too far and gave away possession). Two, why do the Boks give away so much possession? It's not just the aerial ping-pong which seems to even out during the game, but the mistakes in passing and handling, the answer? Get the basics right and the rest will follow. Question: If a side needs a try to win or draw a game in the last few minutes even when the final hooter has gone, how come they can keep possession of the ball up to ten or more phases in an effort to score but seldom do it during a match? It happens at the end because everyone is aware of the importance of the situation and concentration is great.Possession. possession, possession! If we don't control the ball and make our tackles in the next encounter, it's 'goodnight nurse'. (Jannie le Roux is a fine scrum manger but is he good enough on defence? I don't think so.) Passing remains a problem, especially under pressure near the touchlines. Rethink what to do! Francois Louw gave two passes to Jean De Villers at his feet when we were in a strong position to prevail.
Is Pienaar a better scrumhalf than Jano Vermaak? I don't think so. His kicks down the line are fish and his passing is pedestrian. Well a bit slow. Just a personal thought.
The 'first' ref decision on Bismarck by the refs and his so-called assistants, the ones without 20/20 vision spoiled the game.
Well done Argentina! Don't cry for me! The vaqueros are coming!