Mike Jansen Tuesday, 8 May 2012
We received quite a number of responses following our story on Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu’s comments after the Blitzbokke’s performance in Glasgow.
First of all, I must say that I am heartened that we are getting the fans to engage on issues around the team. We will certainly make every effort to get more of you to follow suit as we prepare for what promises to be a busy 2012/13 Sevens Season.
Secondly, most of the responses were positive and those that came across as negative were really just the fans venting their frustrations at the team’s performance.
One letter that we received really stood out because it is really a gat-skop (kick in the behind) for us, the fans to get- and stay behind the team. The new season will be a tough one as it includes the Sevens World Cup (Moscow), a 10th World Series tournament and of course the new Sevens Professional League (7sPL) in George, South Africa (December 2012).
We could not have said it more succinctly, so here are Henri’s comments:
So we’re disappointed. Paul said it and I’m sure so is the whole team and management.
It was a bad year for our Blitsbokke. Injuries started early on (in Australia in November 2011) and that made a huge difference in the continuity, experience and I would imagine, game plan of the coaching team.
Do we really know what goes on behind the scenes? What is SA Rugby doing to support the Blitsbokke? Nothing compared to how the Kiwi’s view the game, or Samoa or Fiji and let’s not forget Russia – the Russian Government got involved because they smell a possible medal at the Olympics in Rio.
I’ve seen our guys train, I’ve seen them put their bodies on the line in practice sessions where the commitment shown was do or die. Relatively small guys like Steven Hunt, Bronco du Preez and Mark Richards would hit Boom and Frankie with such ferocity they had to put in a lot of effort not to fall over, while the youngsters were being held back (or at least they tried to) by Kyle Brown and Chris dry, digging in their heels and holding on for dear life to the ties around the players’ bodies.
I’m in awe of our Blitsbokke. They will die for their country and they go out to win every time. Reality is -and I for one hate reality- that we can’t always win. There are so many factors we don’t notice or always take into account. In 7 (OK 14) minutes many things can go wrong or right. The bounce of a ball, a dodgy referee decision, a slip, a kick or unfortunately on most occasions injuries.
JJ. You know they know they play for all of us. Sometimes it’s just a bit more difficult. Most of the time they give us what we want, but sadly our memories are short when our boys are on the losing side. That’s a South African thing, which no one understands better than the Rugby coaches in South Africa. Especially Paul True. And you know what? He takes it on the chin. He doesn’t look for the obvious excuses, blames the team or the ref or the weather or the fact that, in MY opinion, he doesn’t get the necessary support from SA Rugby.
Henry, my namesake. Sleep tight next time or swallow your disappointment as you’re not alone. We all hate the smug look on the faces of Gordon Titchens and DJ Forbes and those purple clad English boys with their South African imports. But when our boys wipe their smiles off their faces when it counts, I hope you will write a different message.
We have the World Cup to win in Moscow next year and a gold medal in 2016. It’s time to stop whinging, get behind Paul, Seb, Hugh, Allan and our boys and help wipe the smiles off the faces of those we dislike so much.
Go Blitsbokke!! Twickenham is the first step to Olympic Gold!
Groete uit die woestyn en van al die Arabiere.
H of Arabia
Here are some images from the weekend’s Glasgow7s at the Scotstoun Stadium.