Smit to continue as Boks skipper.

Discussion in 'General Rugby Union' started by Prestwick, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. Prestwick

    Prestwick Guest

    Much to the dismay of many a SH traditionalist, South Africa coach Peter de Villiers has broken from the prehistoric practice of only selecting those who play in your country and has taken the rather modern approach of picking the Clermont Auvergne forward John Smit to continue Captaining the Springboks.

    What will this mean for the selection policies of other nations? Should coaches be allowed to select players regardless of their place in the world? If so, should the onus be on the player to fund his travel and, as an even more radical measure, offer his services to this nation at a reduced rate or even for free? After all, if you are being paid megabucks like Victor Matfield, you can afford to spend £700 now and then for travel for Tri Nations games as well as the occassional £70 for an Easyjet flight to Ireland or the UK if your national team is up here on tour for the Autumn.
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  3. Boggle

    Boggle Guest

    I think as long as they go somewhere else to make their fortunes but still want to represent their country they should be expected to cover their own travel costs at least.

    I don't mind too much if we pick our players if they're playing abroad, as long as we pick south africans.
  4. Steve-o

    Steve-o Guest

    Naturally :blink:

    This is very much a double edged sword issue.
    This could now encourage players to take up more lucrative contracts up north as they won't have the big red 'not eligible for Boks' stamp on their foreheads anymore. That's mostly, if not the only, reason players like Habana have stayed in the SH. Staying for that legendary green and gold jersey only. Tradition in rugby is disappearing with this decision. But this IS a professional sport now.

    And on the other hand it will allow us to field THE best team possible team, and retain valuable experienced players.

    This reeks of short term gains and goals though.

    I think what irritates me the most is that leaving for money, and not for a better quality of rugby.

    No offence Northies but it's well known that rugby is more laid back there
  5. Prestwick

    Prestwick Guest

    Well known? Laid back? Do you actually have any evidence for this, or is this yet another over-generalisation formed after watching one game of NH rugby (probably Worcester Warriors vs Gran Parma)?
  6. Boggle

    Boggle Guest

    Naturally :blink:

    Hehe, what I meant was people born and bred in South Africa, I know it's the professional age, but I still want to draw the line between being a south african, and being an "import" or someone who's just been living here for 5 years and now gets to wear the green and gold.

    It's like that goalkeeper from Arsenal being considered for the England spot, because he's allmost "officially" an english citizen, I don't want any of that. Now, someone who's the -child- of mentioned persons and has been born south african I won't mind.
  7. Steve-o

    Steve-o Guest

    I've heard/read a few SH players who play in the NH now say it. Ollie le Roux said in an issue of Rugby World not to long ago.

    Scroll down to where it says something about why Pienaar didn't get allow with some players.

    I know you gonna say "blah blah blah, that's only one player at one club"

    But in the end there's a reason why 5 out of 6 WC winners were SH nations.

    I have a feeling I'm sparking an old debate saying that
  8. Fantasy King

    Fantasy King Guest

    A case in point to disprove this theory is the quality of play Percy Montgomery possessed when returning from a stint with Welsh team Dragons.

    Before he left Percy was being victimised by pretty much every South African - especially Bulls supporters, and yet he was definitely one of the stars of our team when Jake brought him back.

    It is not that they go to Europe for a better quality of rugby - that is entirely subjective - however they learn very different things in Europe, and the experience gained enables players to combine both SH and NH styles of play.

    It seems a pretty obvious strength to me.
  9. Prestwick

    Prestwick Guest

    I've heard/read a few SH players who play in the NH now say it. Ollie le Roux said in an issue of Rugby World not to long ago.

    Scroll down to where it says something about why Pienaar didn't get allow with some players.

    I know you gonna say "blah blah blah, that's only one player at one club"

    But in the end there's a reason why 5 out of 6 WC winners were SH nations.

    I have a feeling I'm sparking an old debate saying that [/b][/quote]

    I've spoken to Butch James who has said he was pleasantly surprised as to just how passionate and dedicated the Bath fanbase are and as a result just how demanding and expectant they are of decent performances from their team.

    Considering they are possibly one of the smaller clubs in Europe in terms of ground size and buying power, they are incredibly intense in terms of their support and their rugby. You decide to be "laid-back" as you said and you'll get chased out of the club. End of story.

    Carlos Spencer had this with Northampton when they got knocked out of the Guinness Premiership, you simply can't treat it as an easy stint anymore and the Saints Fans let him know that in no uncertain terms. Bruce Reihanna however would play his guts out for North Antartica XV without any arms and legs for a packet of Twiglets so there was no question of him giving 1001% to the Northampton cause.

    Even Zinzan Brooke said similar things while playing in Italy. They may be small and the rugby may not be of a similar quality, but the fans expect you to perform and if you don't perform, they'll let you know whats wrong very very quickly.

    Laid back? Rubbish.
  10. Exactly.

    One of the best examples I can think of was former South African international prop (how I have no idea!) Robbie Kempson when he joined us a few seasons back. Now Northampton fans, while passionate and hugely partizan, will appreciate the efforts of any player, who even though they may not be a superstar, put absolutely everything on the line for the jersey.

    However, Kempson tried to coast through the season, and I'm pretty sure it got to the point he was being jeered and booed. Mistakes aren't exactly enjoyed but crowds accept they are part of the sport. Laziness on the other hand is something that simply won't be tolerated.

    There is a certain pressure to perform, but more than that fans want to see a player giving their all for the team cause. The country as a whole may not live and breathe rugby as somewhere like New Zealand, but if players show a laid back attitude once they are on the pitch they will know how the supporters feel in no uncertain terms.
  11. Steve-o

    Steve-o Guest

    Guys, your reading what I said out of context.

    I said 'more laid back'.

    And SaintsFan_Webby kinda echoed what I was saying when he mentioned how as a whole there's more pressure in NZ.
  12. Prestwick

    Prestwick Guest

    Well he did and he didn't. He did say that because clubs have invested so much in players from the SH, there is just as much pressure on them to perform from both Club and Club fanbase. Thus, I don't see the difference and I definitely do not see what you mean by "more laid back" mate.
  13. More likelyhood of coming into contact with a rugby supporter perhaps, but I wouldn't say just because a country like England has a smaller percentage of its population into the sport there is any less expectation from those who do attend matches.
  14. Steve-o

    Steve-o Guest

    Sporting priorities of a country makes a huge difference. Rugby is NZ's and SA's top priorty. How visible is rugby news to the English public? When something big happens (the Bakkies Botha and Henieke Meyer sagas) here it's advertised on every 2nd street light on the busy roads.

    The high wages is a relative issue. How much more is Brent Russell getting than other utility backs of his calibre? That applies to most of the other SH players as well.

    Are they getting more than the players of the same calibre in the SH? Most definitely.

    Are they getting more than the players of the same calibre in the NH? I highly doubt it
  15. Prestwick

    Prestwick Guest

    I definitely know that Russell is getting slightly more than Dan Scarborough who would be the closest comparison at FB at Saracens. Chris Jack is getting a ton of dosh, way more than anyone else at lock at Saracens, that much I do know.
  16. Steve-o

    Steve-o Guest

    Jack is world class. You don't have other locks in his class so it's fruitless to name him.

    Russell has a considerably better CV than Scarborough, therefore not the same calibre
  17. Prestwick

    Prestwick Guest

    I disagree with rating Russell far higher than Scabs. Russell has been pretty weak in defence compared to Scabs who is in my opinion the more all round Full Back. Russell does have incredible acceleration and agility but he does have question marks over his defence. Also, in terms of the CV, it means nothing and thus, is fruitless. Scarborough plays for one of the unfashionable clubs which can be put in grouping with the likes of Sale, Worcester and Northampton as well. With England's very conservative selection politics (where if you don't play for Bath, Wasps or Leicester) then you don't get selected at all usually. The only reason why there is a glut of Newcastle players in there is because of Rob Andrew. If you examine British sport through Rugby and Cricket, you'll see a similar tone. If you don't play for the likes of Middlesex or Yorkshire, you won't get selected as a batsman.

    I quote Jack because he is symbolic of the high class and thus high cost SH players coming up here. Saying that we shouldn't include him or any other high class player who could be described as "out of our league" is basically rigging the whole argument in your favour. In fact, because he so high class and demands such a high premium, this only adds weight to our argument up here that actually there is more pressure on him to perform or GTFO.

    There is simply no way that any SH player can waltz up here and enjoy in your words a "laid back" NH. It is a commercial enterprise which demands 110% from its employees come wind, sleet or playing at the REC in a shower of rain. If you don't perform to the standards expected of you, they'll teminate the contract and tell you to **** off.
  18. Steve-o

    Steve-o Guest

    Hahaha ha hahaha... so now the RFU is conspiring against Saracens. Please!

    Say it with me Preststick, 'MORE LAID BACK' not 'laid back'

    And are you saying that Russell's 23 springbok caps had absolutely no bearing on the value of his signature? And the fact he played for two high profile clubs in SA didn't add to that either?

    If so there is no hope for you.

    Jack probably got a higher wage than most players in the SH as well, when he player here. So I fail to see your point.

    And please answer my questions, you're just focusing on one or two things in my posts.

    Now that Prestwick has been disciplined we can focus on the topic again.

    Keo gives a good overview of the history of this whole saga with Mad Mike Stofile and Pieter De Villiers
  19. Prestwick

    Prestwick Guest

    No, I'm not saying its the RFU vicimising smaller clubs like Saracens & Saints, its an ingrained culture in the coaches that you must pick from a holy trinity of clubs (i.e. Tigers, Wasps & Bath). Any idiot who supports Worcester, Saints, Irish, Saracens and Sale would be able to tell you this. More worryingly, Gloucester have seemed to have seriously fallen out of favour with none of their home grown and cultivated players being picked (Vainikolo & Balshaw do not count as they are recent signings).

    But hey? What do I know? What do Mite & Webby know? What, indeed, does any fan outside of Tigers, Wasps & Bath know?! Please, Stevie boy, fill us in on what we have been missing these past eight years! We'd love to know the real reason why the likes of Anthony Allen, Simpson-Daniel, Ryan Lamb, Dylan Hartley and a whole host of other on form and talented England players who play outside of Tigers, Wasps and Bath aren't playing for England! Seriously, I'd love to know.

    If you think that player selection in any English national sport is fair, you are seriously in need of an education in NH rugby. In Rugby, you get selected if you play reasonably well for Tigers, Wasps and Bath. In Cricket you get selected if you play for Yorkshire, Middlesex and possibly another county like Essex. End of story. Finito. Get with the program.

    No, I'm saying that it'd be unfair to compare Russell's CV with Scarborough's because of the lop-sided way England players are selected. You haven't answered my queries about Russell's defensive frailties which I have seen several times this season. Why are you even being weird over Russell and Scarborugh?! I love both players and both are of international quality. I'm sure ol' Percy will be looking forward to facing Scabs again if Sarries and Perpignan meet in the "laid back" HEC final by the way! :p

    *sigh* Stevie, the point is that higher NH wages attract the SH players but because of the premium SH players tend to attract, they also have higher expectations and standards to which they have to adhere to and thus, just as much (if not more) pressure to perform at their best. Thus, there is no evidence to point to back your argument!

    In the end Stevie, you haven't actually explained what exactly it is you mean by "laid back". All you've done is tear your hair out pedantically over the use of the word "more", ignore what past and present illustrious SH players have said about NH rugby and arguing the toss over minute differences in wages between, say, Chris Jack and Butch James for example.

    Now, repeat after me: "What I mean by "laid back" is...*insert explaination here*"

    If you don't, your argument as it stands, is utter ******** mate. Seriously Stevie, I don't mean to keep owning you here, but you seriously need to explain your point rather than just say "laid back" and then start jumping up and down when people point out the obvious! :lol:
  20. Steve-o

    Steve-o Guest

    Prestick? Not you again. I thought I slapped you like a ******* step-child into the corner already..

    Oh well, First I'll address this so called 'question' about Russell's defence

    No question marks there or even a suggestion that it was a question. Therefore does not constitute as a question, which you wrongfully implied.

    Well this happens when the team you support isn't... well... good.
    Saracens highest league position is 2nd which was back in 98, since then they've been a rollercoaster. .. Sorry scrap that, cause rollercoasters actually go up as well.
    Sale are the only team out of those you mentioned that have been a force in the league. The rest do upset the bigger teams on occasion but in the end get slapped, like you. Into the corner.

    Saracens top point scorer is Australian, top try scorer is French and captain is South African.
    The only player Saracens could offer to England recently (and supposed International quality) is Farrell. Nuff said

    I'd love to go into greater detail with the other clubs as well, but the result would be the same and predictable as Saracens.

    On to what is more laid back and less pressured environment in the NH I was refering to by giving you the stadium capacity of the big team in England and South Africa:

    London Wasps - 10,000
    Leicester Tigers - 16,815
    Gloucester - 16,500
    Bath - 10,600

    South African:

    Blue Bulls - 53,056
    Sharks - 52,000
    Stormers - 50,000+
    Lions - 59,611
    Cheetahs - 37,383 (SO small!)

    Now I don't know about you but I'd say 50 000 drunk passionate supports add more pressure on a player than 10 000 drunk passionate supports. But that's just me. A crowd of 25 000 - 30 000 in Super 14 is considered a small crowd here.

    And unless you can give me evidence and figures that SH players are getting more money than players from the NH of the same calibre, than I suggest you just leave it out.
  21. Actually, it's you who is beginning to get a bit lost here. London Irish and Saracens have both been playoff contenders in the last few years. This, by its very fact, means they must have been challenging at the top end of the league. Similarly, you need only go back several years to find that Northampton were consistently a top 3 side. I think our lowest league finish between 1998 and 2003/4 was 5th or 6th.

    The stadium figures can also be manipulated for and against your argument. The capacities may be bigger, but South Africa only have five Super 14 sides.

    Adding up the figures you have given means there would be a total of around 252,050 supporters attending matches at South African stadiums.

    The Guinness Premiership contains 12 teams, more than twice as many as the number of South African Super 14 sides. Therefore they do not need such large stadiums, as the supporters are spread between a greater number of clubs. This also does take into account the countless numbers of fans who will go and support sides outside the top flight. For example, this season Northampton have been pulling in crowds some Premiership clubs would kill for, yet they are not currently in the highest league.

    So my point is that South African stadiums should be larger, as they have far, far, far fewer teams competing to get supporters through their turnstiles.

    Statistics are a wonderful thing on paper, but they can quite easily be turned around...
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