Michael Trapido
Michael Trapido

What’s worse: Maligning the Bok coach or those whinging Brits?

When I chatted to Peter de Villiers in Soweto on Monday I told him how proud I was of his achievement in beating the British and Irish Lions the Saturday before which sentiment of course applies to “Mr Naughty” Dick Muir and Gary Gold. Unless my memory fails me prior to Pete and company we’ve made a habit of losing to these geniuses in the last few tours.

Subsequent to the World Cup win in France weren’t the rugby journalists — and here I’m referring to my white colleagues — predicting the end of Springbok domination as a result of Jake White’s departure?

Yet the exact opposite has taken place and despite the ongoing mutterings that it must be down to Dick and Gary, Peter has laid down his own marker as the coach of our national team. His achievements will include a series win over the Lions and nobody will be able to take that away from him.

This Ricky Januarie issue is as much garbage as the sex scandal rubbish that came before it. As I said at the time, I don’t care if the coach is banging 50 call girls in the car park, I’ll be judging him on his results on the field. The same goes for a remark attributed to him calling critics of Januarie racists. So chuffing what if he did say that? So what if he does play the race card? As rugby followers we should be judging him on his on-field results. Up to now they have been fabulous with a united team and a happy Springbok camp so get off Pete’s back.

Apartheid ended 15 years ago, a mere fraction of the life of a coach who experienced the worst of it. Accordingly, if he feels touchy on the subject then so be it. As the writer of Jake White’s blog I got a feel for the intense pressures on our national coaches and it’s ugly.

Don’t destroy Pete because you don’t believe he should be running the Springboks for reasons that have nothing to do with rugby. If he fails you on the field have a go but leave the crap at home.

Speaking of crap I note that the print, online and television media of Great Britain and Ireland are of the view that the Lions were robbed, that the Springboks are bullies and that Burger should have been sent off in the first minute.

Seems fair enough coming from the same media who could see no wrong in previous Lions winning tours where the approach was less than savoury from their team. The famous “99” call for starters was lauded as a manifestation of the close bond enjoyed by their players. In reality it was the signal for all their players to wade into the other team at the same time.

Strangely nowhere was it suggested that this team was a bunch of thugs whose numbers should have been reduced during the game. Quite the opposite they are listed among the greatest ever British Lions teams ever.

What it comes down to is that when they win the rougher the better but should they lose it’s because that bad ol’ referee forced them to play 15 players against 15. Perhaps — and they’ll need to make application to Saru — we can agree to reduce our side to 14 players for future tours.

Shame that Test rugby, where no quarter is asked or given, should be covered by a media comprising big girl’s blouses who haven’t learned to accept defeat with a bit of grace.

Dare I suggest that the Lions who narrowly lost both tests by the narrowest of margins emerged with great credit while their rugby correspondents have not.


Match report

You couldn’t make this up it was better than Roy of the Rovers and more nerve-wracking than totalling up my wife’s credit card at the end of the month. An ending more dramatic than this hasn’t been dreamt up by Hollywood yet.

Within seconds of the kick-off Schalk Burger was yellow carded and the Springboks were 0-10 behind before they could blink.

On 3 minutes Stephen Jones kicks over the penalty that was reversed when Burger was ordered off. This was followed up in the 7th minute by a try for Rob Kearney after Jones broke down the right.

Twelve minutes and after a lineout down South Africa’s right just outside the Lion’s 22, the Springboks win the ball and get JP Pietersen away through the middle to score a try. Pienaar misses the conversion to leave it 10-5 to the Lions.

On 16 minutes the Lions goal another penalty through Stephen Jones to make it 13-5.

The Springboks are totally shell-shocked and the Lions are coming at them in waves. On the few opportunities that the Bokke have to gain any momentum they are blown for ill-discipline.

Still there is no scoring until Jones puts over a drop goal in the 34th minute to put the Lions 16-5 ahead. Francois Steyn belts a long range effort on half time and puts the teams in at halftime 16-8 to the Lions.

Peter de Villiers and his staff had plenty of work to do to turn this around.

Second half and Ruan Pienaar adds 2 penalty misses to his missed conversion in the first 13 minutes. In hindsight it would occasion the entrance of match winner Morne Steyn.

On 60 minutes with the Springboks in the ascendancy the Lions goal another penalty midway into the Bokke half. Lions ahead by 11 points 19-8.

On 61 minutes clash of heads between Brian O’Driscoll — about 4 continent lengths offside — and Danie Rossouw who has to leave the field.

Within a minute a bullet effort by a flying Bryan Habana sees him crash over for the Springboks’ second try. Lions 19 Springboks 15.

  • 67 minutes and Morne Steyn goals a 45-metre monster to make it Lions 19, Springboks 18.
  • 69 minutes and Jones converts his 4th penalty to increase the Lions lead to 4 points.
  • 73 minutes and Jacques Fourie scores a brilliant try right in the corner as we sweated the decision from the TMO. Morne Steyn with a wonder conversion for the Springboks to lead 25-22.
  • 76 minutes and the Lions get a penalty down their left right on the touchline when Andries Bekker high tackles Stephen Jones. Jones scores to level the scoreboard at 25 points all.
  • Then the moment of drama — 5 metres into the Springbok half, the hooter having blown for full time — the Springboks are awarded a penalty. Up steps Blue Bulls wunderkind Morne Steyn and slots home the match winner!

    After being 10 points behind after 7 minutes, the World Champions had triumphed 28-25.

    Champions of the world and beating the Lions makes this the greatest Springbok team of all time.

    South Africa: F Steyn (Sharks); J P Pietersen (Sharks), A Jacobs (Sharks), J de Villiers (Stormers), B Habana (Blue Bulls), R Pienaar (Sharks), F du Preez (Blue Bulls), T Mtawarira (Sharks), B du Plessis (Sharks), J Smit (Sharks, capt), B Botha (Blue Bulls), V Matfield (Blue Bulls), S Burger (Stormers), J Smith (Cheetahs), P Spies (Blue Bulls).

    Replacements: C Ralepelle (Blue Bulls), D Carstens (Sharks), A Bekker (Stormers), D Rossouw (Blue Bulls), H Brussow (Cheetahs), J Fourie (Golden Lions), M Steyn (Blue Bulls).

    British and Irish Lions: R Kearney (Leinster and Ireland); T Bowe (Ospreys and Ireland), B O’Driscoll (Leinster and Ireland), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues and Wales), L Fitzgerald (Leinster and Ireland), S Jones (Scarlets and Wales), M Phillips (Ospreys and Wales), G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues and Wales), M Rees (Scarlets and Wales), A Jones (Ospreys and Wales), S Shaw (Wasps and England), P O’Connell (Munster and Ireland, capt), T Croft (Leicester and England), D Wallace (Munster and Ireland), J Heaslip (Leinster and Ireland).

    Replacements: R Ford (Edinburgh and Scotland), A Sheridan (Sale Sharks and England), A-W Jones (Ospreys and Wales), M Williams (Cardiff Blues and Wales), H Ellis (Leicester and England), R O’Gara (Munster and Ireland), S Williams (Ospreys and Wales).

    Referee: Christophe Berdos (France).

    Peter de Villiers cartoon thumbnail
    Cartoon: Malema in awe of Peter de Villiers