Springbok suicide watch
Been away for a few weeks and catching up on all the latest Tri-Nations developments. The All Blacks skunked the Boks in Cape Town two weeks ago, winning by an historic scoreline of 19-0; and last weekend the Wallabies did a similar job on the mighty Bokke, prevailing 27-15 at Durban for their first win in the Republic since 2000.
The "world champion" Springboks are well & truly out of the running for this years' Tri-Nations title, having won a solitary game out of five played, with one remaining home test against the Wallabies to try to salvage some pride and honour.
This years' title was supposed to belong to the Springboks, following the rebuilding phases of the All Blacks and Wallabies. Instead, those two teams will meet for the silverware and the South Africans, who returned home in the drivers seat, are left holding the wooden spoon.
The knives have been sharpened with the sole blame going to inexperienced Bok coach Peter de Villiers (pictured above) on multiple threads at Keo and a nice one at Rugby Planet ("PDV's nightmare run"). TSF has a running thread about the stupidest comments and excuses from the Springbok coach.
Here're some classic doozies:
"We are too rushed at the moment. We have to be more composed. When we click, somebody’s going to get a hiding."
"We are making progress, but I think some players are a bit flat because they play too much rugby in the Super 14. The public must give us time. Given the speed and power of our players, if we execute our new game play correctly, we will be awesome. We will be the envy of the world."
"We don’t go out there to lose games and we should have won all of those games."
"If you look at New Zealand and us and compare the players as a team, then you will see that we have much more talent than what they have."
"I'm not going to panic because, having watched the video again, I saw how great we played."
Hoo-boy. De Villiers is not exactly painting himself in glory here. If his players are superior to the competition, then surely de Villiers is conceeding responsibility here. He is cluelessly out of his depth at this level.
The Olympic Games just wrapped from Beijing. I was intrigued to hear NBC sports anchor Bob Costas interviewing IOC President Jacques Rogge and the Games dropping baseball and softball for the 2012 London Games, and the possibility of those sports being reintroduced for 2016. Rogge was non-commital, but did say the teams sports had to be put into a context that also sought inclusion of other sports, and Rogge cited rugby. I have always believed rugby should stay out of the Olympic Games. I suspect the version Rogge is thinking about is perhaps tournament rounds of Sevens, like the version competed at the Commonwealth Games, but that seems to me a foul way to muddy the waters about what the global audience thinks rugby is (e.g. mistakenly thinking it a 7s game, not a 15-man game).
If I had to see rugby in the Olympics, I would prefer to see a straight 8-team draw, playing knock-out tests on the three consecutive weeks of the Games. Do a QF round on the first Sat/Sun; a SF round the following Sat/Sun; and the Medal Finals on the concluding Sat/Sun. (And once league players saw an Olympic gold medal on the line, we might see the nail in the coffin to that code and rugby become one game -- a World in Union!)