Written by Neil Jardine - October 14 2016


Brian Kramer
October 16 2016

Missed you at the Chairmans lunch at MHS. Would have been sitting next to u. Enjoy your FROSTY art7icles very much

Gordon D Paterson
October 15 2016

Hi Neil, I have been reading your blog and promising to respond. How do I keep it short? Living on this side of the ditch I get a particular view of All Black rugby. I think it is nothing more than a mix of Craven and van Heerden coaching. Craven attended to detail and viewed a game of rugby as a young flower in spring, a tight bud that gradually blossoms thus producing its finest later. You had to attend to the tight phases early, absorb the pressure and build towards the final quarter. You needed to be sure you had the stamina to be destructive at the death. He did not coach me as a player but he was my rugby lecturer and we studied his book on the game. He was also my lecturer in Psychological Aspects and given his two doctorates he was well qualified to do so. Isak van Heerden taught Natal teams in the 60s to run with the ball from nearly anywhere; to run confusing lines, to sell dummies, to scissor, double scissor and provide support for the ball carrier. Carriers of the ball knew how to either distribute early when the space was wide or to push the arms through the tackle and ensure that the ball was moved on in the tackle. Support players worked extremely hard because they knew they would receive a pass. Both Craven and van Heerden believed implicitly that players were required to understand and have confidence in the plan, and they were to provide surprises for the opposition. Isak’s book, Target Tryline was one of my rugby Bibles. I think that the All Blacks, given the modern game, have upped the intensity, accuracy and continuity given the added space available within components of the game. They protect the ball by being quick and closer to it in support and given all that can be done on the ground with the ball these days, it is very hard to get it off them. They learn lines of run and interference running, as we knew it in the past, from rugby league. In conclusion, these people leave no stone un-turned in safe-guarding one of the biggest business brands in this country. The changes to the game have moved it towards the physiology of the Polynesian in my view; slightly lower centre of gravity; masses of explosive power and speed; instinctive agility when one-on-one. The game has moved away from the big Afrikaner who was extremely powerful in the tight when scrums were scrums; when players had to jump in the lineouts; when mauls were on a parity with rucks. Now if you get held up in the maul you lose the ball and when you ruck you can play with the ball on the ground at length. Get my drift? How many Polynesians were in Brian Lochore’s team in 1970? Four out of a tour party of thirty. Count the number that travel to the UK at the end of this year. Ian McIntosh was accurate when he spoke of South Pacific United. I would love to see a push into making the Pacific Islands top flight rugby nations. It took an Englishman to take Fiji to the sevens Gold Medal. Why not take them into the top echelon on the fifteen man game. Watch Gordon Tietjens impact on Samoa – it will be significant. I am digressing. The modern game is well suited to South Pacific rugby players. I think that South Africa has similar players who will come to the fore – we see them amongst the Blitzbokke. Size is no longer all – athletic ability is vital. Regards, Gordon

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