Dan Carter - made to 'Crusade' by Super Wrap
Posted on 22 May 2006 - 14:21
Crusaders' flyhalf Dan Carter is the SuperSport Zone's Super Rugby Player of the Year for the third consecutive season.
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Carter, who has once again emerged as the top points-scorer in the new, expanded Super 14, was the Player of the Year in the Zone’s popular SuperWrap column for the last two years of the Super 12 and has again guided the Crusaders to the Final.
In Saturday’s semifinal against the Bulls, Carter moved his season’s tally to 207 points to surpass Andrew Mehrtens’ record (in fewer matches) but his value as the Crusaders’ kingpin far outweighs the contribution he makes as a marksman.
Carter is quite simply the best rugby player in the world at the moment and one can but wonder, with Fifa’s World Cup rapidly approaching, what would be his value had he been a soccer player.
The 15th SuperWrap of the year wraps up the Super 14 tournament and while it confirms the excellence of Carter and some other New Zealanders it yet again brings down the curtain on sub-standard and disappointing South African performances.
Only one local player, Bakkies Botha, in spite of the fact that he hardly ever completed a game, is in the Super XV Team of the Year while the Springbok Barometer confirms the travails of coach Jake White with Peter Grant at flyhalf and two other players, Odwa Ndungane and Luke Watson, who are not in the national squad currently bivouacked in Bloemfontein.
Some seasons ago the staff who work on www.superrugby.co.za’s comprehensive Super Rugby service started a weekly column entitled the SuperWrap of which the “Springbok Barometer” became a regular and contentious feature.
The “Bokometer” was, and is, a weekly gauge of the composition of the Springbok side with the recognition of current form its underpinning objective.
In many cases the “selectors,” all of whom watched at least 85% of the 93 matches played to date (the final, and 94th, will be played between the Crusaders and the Hurricanes on Saturday, kick-off 09.35) simply totted up the amount of times a player was in the weekly team (a foolproof indicator of consistent form) to settle on a position but in many cases – especially at flyhalf – a little selectorial licence was required.
Thus Peter Grant of the Stormers was given the No10 spot as his form was more consistent (or he remained fit for longer) than the like of Andre Pretorius, Meyer Bosman, Willem de Waal, Naas Olivier, Morne Steyn, Derick Hougaard and Butch James; especially as the best flyhalf in South African teams was (former All Black) Tony Brown while Percy Montgomery had already been slotted in at fullback.*
Perhaps it’s time for Jake White, as suggested in SuperWrap Three way back in February, to consider a move that gave us Henry Honiball by converting his lookalike Ruan Pienaar to flyhalf?
The Super XV, or best team of the year, was unsurprisingly dominated by Kiwis although George Gregan, at scrumhalf, did silence the doubters by showing that there’s no substitute for experience.
So here goes… the brickbats and bouquets that make up the last SuperWrap of 2006. We’ve indulged ourselves by also picking “All Black” and “Wallaby” sides – hardly for the fun of it because all it showed was how tough it’s going to be for the Boks in the Tri-Nations.
*A number of players have since pulled up injured but for the sake of summing up the season we’ve decided to keep them in the loop.
The Super XV of the Year:
15 Leon MacDonald (Crusaders), 14 Lome Fa’atau (Hurricanes), 13 Stirling Mortlock (Brumbies), 12 Ma’a Nonu (Hurricanes), 11 Lote Tuqiri (Waratahs), 10 Dan Carter (Crusaders), 9 George Gregan (Brumbies), 8 Rodney So’oialo (Hurricanes), 7 Jerry Collins (Hurricanes), 6 Richie McCaw (Crusaders), 5 Chris Jack (Crusaders), 4 Bakkies Botha (Bulls), 3 Carl Hayman (Highlanders), 2 Corey Flynn (Crusaders), 1 Tony Woodcock (Blues).
The Springbok Barometer of the Year:
15 Percy Montgomery (Sharks), 14 Odwa Ndungane (Sharks), 13 Jaque Fourie (Cats), 12 Jean de Villiers (Stormers), 11 Bryan Habana (Bulls), 10 Peter Grant (Stormers), 9 Ruan Pienaar (Sharks), 8 Pedrie Wannenburg (Bulls), 7 Juan Smith (Cheetahs), 6 Luke Watson (Stormers), 5 Victor Matfield (Bulls), 4 Bakkies Botha (Bulls), 3 BJ Botha (Sharks), 2 John Smit (Sharks), 1 Deon Carstens (Sharks).
The Unsung Heroes XV:
15 Cameron Shepherd (Force), 14 Giscard Pieters (Cheetahs), 13 Anthony Tuitavake (Blues), 12 Scott Staniforth (Force), 11 Scott Hamilton (Crusaders), 10 Jimmy Gopperth (Hurricanes), 9 Jamie Nutbrown (Chiefs), 8 Nick Williams (Blues), 7 Jacques Botes (Sharks), 6 David Croft (Reds), 5 Johann Muller (Sharks), 4 Nathan Sharpe (Force), 3 Rodney Blake (Reds), 2 Tai McIsaac (Force), 1 Benn Robinson (Waratahs).
The All Black XV of the Year:
15 Leon MacDonald (Crusaders), 14 Rico Gear (Crusaders), 13 Ma’a Nonu (Hurricanes), 12 Aaron Mauger (Crusaders), 11 Sitivini Sivivatu (Chief), 10 Dan Carter (Crusaders), 9 Piri Weepu (Hurricanes), 8 Rodney So’oialo (Hurricanes), 7 Jerry Collins (Hurricanes), 6 Richie McCaw (Crusaders), 5 Jason Eaton (Hurricanes), 4 Chris Jack (Crusaders), 3 Carl Hayman (Highlanders), 2 Corey Flynn (Crusaders), 1 Tony Woodcock (Blues).
The Wallaby XV of the Year:
15 Matt Rogers (Waratahs), 14 Peter Hewat (Waratahs), 13 Stirling Mortlock (Brumbies), 12 Matt Giteau (Brumbies), 11 Lote Tuqiri (Waratahs), 10 Stephen Larkham (Brumbies), 9 George Gregan (Brumbies), 8 Adam Wallace-Harrison (Brumbies) 7 George Smith (Brumbies), 6 Phil Waugh (Waratahs), 5 Dan Vickerman (Waratahs), 4 Nathan Sharpe (Force), 3 Rodney Blake (Reds), 2 Adam Freier (Waratahs), 1 Benn Robinson (Waratahs).
Player of the Year: There were a number of nominations but when we opened the sealed envelopes every one of them said - Dan Carter.
Match of the Year: Tough to decide as the tournament produced so many but the Academy gave the Oscar to the Western Force vs Crusaders – in part to recognise the great strides made by the men from Perth and also to provide some consolation for the non-award of that try by Haig Sare.
Referee of the Year: We were tempted to call Jonathan Kaplan up on stage, just to irritate the Waratahs!, but you know what, the gong goes to another South African, Marius Jonker, in his first year as a Super referee. Another SA rookie Craig Joubert gets a highly commended certificate.
Newcomer of the Year: Talk of a changing of the guard as the youth brigade came marching in. The tournament was lit up by new faces and we commend JP Pietersen, Benn Robinson, Ross Skeate, Tim Dlulane, Ronnie Cooke, Daniel Halangahu, Bradley Barrit, Andries Strauss, Keegan Daniel, Ernst Joubert, Jano Vermaak, Pierre Spies, Andrew Ellis, Tanerau Latimer, Chris Smylie, Alex Kanaar, Bevin Fortuin, Jannie du Plessis, Peter Grant, Rayno Benjamin, Berrick Barnes and, of course, Dick Muir and Rassie Erasmus and SuperSport commentator Matthew Pearce. As Toks van der Linde used to say, “hullo Maff!”
Captain of the Year: The personification of a Captain Courageous. There were times Stirling Mortlock, injured and not fully fit, seemed to be standing alone on the bridge of a sinking Brumbies ship but somehow he kept them afloat.
Schleppers of the Year: Thanks to Phil Kearns for providing as with a new word, and new award, for the year. The Schlepper recognises something really idiotic and no explanations are needed for why we have singled out Wendell Sailor, Linston Manuels, Bolla Conradie and Rua Tipoki.
Coach of the Year: While the automatic relegation storm was raging, before the Spears were found out for what they are/or were!, most were predicting that the Sharks would be the team to go down. They didn’t even come close. They finished fifth and it took a great effort by the Bulls (and a shameful one from the Stormers!) to keep them out of the semis. Take a bow Dick Muir. A mention in despatches to John Mitchell of the Force and Robbie Deans of the Crusaders.
Most missed player of the year: Sometimes the value of a player is not fully understood until he is no longer around and how the Brumbies, the Highlanders, the Chiefs, the Blues, the Sharks, the Waratahs and the Cheetahs missed the like of Stephen Larkham, Nick Evans, Sione Lauaki, Rua Tipoki, Tony Brown, Wendell Sailor, Juan Smith.
Whingeing Mathilda: A box of tissues for Ewen McKenzie as he wails about Jonathan Kaplan. Now you know how us Saffers felt mate having to put up with Wayne Erickson, Peter Marshall, Stuart Dickinson and George Ayoub!
Condemned by faint praise? Seagulling (a term the Kiwis use to describe a forward hanging out on the fringes) Bulls captain Victor Matfield being described by commentator Tony Johnstone as "the world's biggest wing."
Good move, bad move: Some moves came up gold, some came up mud. Good moves were by Daniel Heenan to the Brumbies, Tony Brown to the Sharks, Scott Mathie to the Sharks and the Cheetahs splitting from the Cats. A bad move was by Brendan Cannon to the Force while what looked like a good move turned into a bummer when Wendell Sailor couldn’t cope with the temptations of Sydney.
Lose the video tape: That’s what Lukas van Biljon will be hoping after he was caught napping (nay, fast asleep!) when Adam Freier scored a try for the Waratahs against the Cats off a simple return pass from a lineout.
Commentator’s nightmare: Saimone Taumoepeau, Vilame Waqaseduadua, Junior Poluleuligaga and Onosai Tololima-Auva'a handling the ball in the same movement.
Phrases that have become synonamous with commentators: “Enjoy the rugby, enjoy our shoes.” – Hennie le Roux.
Mysteries of rugby: Why did the managers of the Wespac Stadium in Wellington choose to play JJ Cale’s song, “Cocaine”, during the “Canes game against the Waratahs?
All hail the centurions: To those who have played a 100 or more Super Rugby games: George Gregan (123), Anton Oliver (120), Reuben Thorne (112), Caleb Ralph (112), Tana Umaga (110), Stephen Larkham (107), Chris Whitaker (107), Justin Marshall (105), Chris Latham (100), Bill Young (100) and Greg Somerville (100). No South Africans? Wonder if that says anything about our players. Ollie le Roux on 99 and AJ Venter on 89 are the nearest.
Good as gold, mate!: To Caleb Ralph who has featured in an amazing 104 consecutive matches (1 for the Blues, 103 for the Crusaders). Other iron men are David Lyons (83), George Gregan (80), Brendan Cannon (78), Toutai Kefu (76) and Bill Young (75).
Made to Crusade: Caleb Ralph and Reuben Thorne will be playing in their 8th Super Rugby Finals on Saturday. Andrew Mehrtens appeared in seven, Greg Somerville in six and Leon MacDonald in five.
Quote of the Week I: “I could have told you before the game something like this was going to happen. We have been saying for a long time that players are being asked to play too much rugby. Habana has had one week off since the start of the year and he has played for a full two years before that. And 72 hours before the (semi) final, Bakkies was unlikely to play due to an Achilles injury. The fact that he only lasted 30 minutes suggests that he wasn’t fit to play. It’s very disappointing.” – A “schlepperesque” quote from Jake White, who seemed to be suggesting that Heyneke Meyer should not have played his best players in the Vodacom Super 14 semi-final.
Quote of the Week II: "I have no idea (how that penalty was called.) Our ball, middle of the field, I just do not see how it happened. I don't think he was sympathetic to us." – Waratahs prop Al Baxter on the penalty (awarded by Jonathan Kaplan) that was goaled by Jimmy Gopperth to take the Hurricanes into the Final.
Quote of the Week III: ”Thanks, Bru.” – Bulls prop Danie Thiart shaking hands with Chris Jack after referee Stuart Dickinson pulled them up for becoming involved in a scuffle.