The Greatest Bok of all time

I have been a rugby fan for the best part of my 40 years of existence. I have followed many generations of Boks, Bulls and on the rare occasion even a Stormer or a Shark or two. ­čÖé

We have had many great players in my lifetime, but I was wondering if I had to pick only the ultimate legends of Springbok rugby who would they be. These must be the guys that were undeniably at the very top of their positions in the world.

After much pondering and trying to be completely fair I have made MY choices. Here in no particular order they are:

Carel du Plessis: Despite the pretentions of Bryan Habana, Carel “The Prince” du Plessis edges it.

Danie Gerber: The best swerve in the game. Will probably be the most popular pick. Our best centre ever.

Victor Matfield: Gave us the 2007 World Cup. Best lock SA has ever had. One of the 3 best locks the world has ever had.

Andr├ę Joubert: The best 15 we’ve ever produced. Had the balance of a ballet dancer. Played us into the World Cup final in 1995. We could use him now!

Joost van der Westhuizen: Fourie du Preez and Divan Serfontein might have something to say about it, but to me Joost is probably still the best 9 we have had. Was a big part of our 1995 success.

However I sincerely without favour or prejudice believe that the greatest player we have produced is none other than Hendrik Ignatius Botha aka Naas. I don’t think any other player was as influenced by Apartheid as Naas Botha. Had he been allowed to play at the highest level in his prime, I believe he would today have been known as Rugby’s Pele. The prodigious and more importantly realised talent that this kid had at 18 is to this day unmatched in my opinion.

The way that Naas could determine a game’s outcome with only a lock and a scrumhalf is actually quite unbelievable today. Who could ever forget the final against Transvaal when Naas “dropped” Northern’s to the title. I remember him kicking for the corner when the ball dropped a half metre out and a half metre from touch. Not punted into the stands, but inch perfect. This he literally did 4 or 5 times I game. Today great players get
cheered for doing it once in a game. He could also kick with both feet. Not some makeshift hack,  but real accurate kicking!

Yes sir. For me our greatest rugby player of all time remains Naas Botha.

Is die Springbokke so dom? Ek glo darem nie.

Ek is nie iemand wat gewoonlik e-pos aanstuur nie en ek vee hulle gewoonlik vinnig uit maar ‘n kollega het hierdie ene vandag gestuur wat vir my regtig snaaks was.

Dit is ware aanhalings deur All Black en Wallabie rugbyspelers en┬áafrigters. Van hulle is kostelik. Ek dink darem regtig nie die Bokke is so onnosel nie. Springbokafrigter Peter de Villiers is egter ‘n ander saak.

Sonder verdere vertoef, hier is hulle:

Jono Gibbs, Chiefs
“Nobody in Rugby should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein.”

Rodney So’ialo, Hurricanes, on University
“I’m going to graduate on time, no matter how long it takes.”

Colin Cooper, Hurricanes head coach
“You guys line up alphabetically by height.” And, “You guys pair up in groups of three, then line up in a circle.”

Chris Masoe (Hurricanes) on whether he had visited the Pyramids during his visit to Egypt .
“I can’t really remember the names of the clubs that we went to.”

Colin Cooper on Paul Tito
“He’s a guy who gets up at six o’clock in the morning regardless of what time it is.”

Kevin Senio ( Auckland ), on Night Rugby vs Day Games
“It’s basically the same, just darker.”

David Nucifora ( Auckland ) talking about Troy Flavell
“I told him, ‘Son, what is it with you… Is it ignorance or apathy?’ He said, ‘David, I don’t know and I don’t care.’

David Holwell (Hurricanes) when asked about the upcoming season:
“I want to reach for 150 or 200 points this season, whichever comes first.”

Ma’a Nonu
“Colin has done a bit of mental arithmetic with a calculator.”

Phil Waugh
“We actually got the winning try three minutes from the end but then they scored.”

Jerry Collins
“I’ve never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body.”

Tony Brown
“That kick was absolutely unique, except for the one before it which was identical.”

Tana Umaga
“I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and father.”

Doc Mayhew
“Sure there have been injuries and deaths in rugby, but none of them serious.”

Anton Oliver
“If history repeats itself, I should think we can expect the same thing again.”

Ewan McKenzie
“I never comment on referees and I’m not going to break the habit of a lifetime for that prat.”

Murray Mexted
(1) “Andy Ellis the 21 year old, who turned 22 a few weeks ago”
(2) “He scored that try after only 22 seconds – totally against the run of play.”
(3) “I would not say he (Rico Gear) is the best left winger in the Super14, but there are none better.”
(4) “Well, either side could win it, or it could be a draw.”
(5) “Strangely, in slow motion replay, the ball seemed to hang in the air for even longer.”

AND THE “Piece de resistance’

Murray Deaker:
“Have you ever thought of writing your autobiography?”
Tana Umaga:
“On what?”

Springbokke vs All Blacks in Port Elizabeth

Ek en vriend Christoph Groenewald het gister die toets tussen die Springbokke en die All Blacks gaan kyk. Dit was die 1ste keer in 40 jaar dat die Bokke teen die All Blacks in Port Elizabeth gespeel het en was dus ‘n “once-in-a-lifetime” geleentheid wat ‘n mens net nie kon misloop nie!

Dit was die 3de keer dat ek in die Nelson Mandela Stadion was en ek moet nou eerlikwaar s├¬ dat dit ‘n uitsetekende stadion is. Die gees (behalwe vir die onsinnige Suid-Afrikaanse All-Black ondersteuners) was weereens fantasties. Ek is so gatvol vir al die advertensies en hoofstroom-media wat altyd die gemengde wit en swart beeld in ‘n mens se keel afdruk, maar gister op Nelson Mandela Stadion was dit ‘n spontane samesyn. En dit was great. Selfs die relatiewe konserwatiewe Afrikaners saam met wie ons daar was sou saamstem.

Die enigste ou wat uit gevoel het was ‘n ou suurgat All-Black ondersteuner wat vir moeilikheid gevra het. En vir hom het ek regtig nie veel simpatie nie!

Die Volkslied was fenomenaal. Dis mos maar altyd spesiaal, maar ek het eers na die wedstryd op die TV gesien hoe goed dit was. Bobby Skinstad het op die lug gepraat van hoe great die Volkslied geklink het en Bryan Habana en Pierre Spies het daaroor getweet. Ek dink dit was ‘n groot regmerkie in die Baai se kolum by die SA Rugby administrateurs. As ou Cheeky Watson so aanhou mag hy dalk net ‘n bietjie vergifnis genereer.

Die rugby self was ook baie positief. Ons het nou nie bonuspunt driee gedruk nie, maar hierdie was 100% presies wat ons nodig gehad het. As ons te ver gewen het sou dit ook nie ideaal gewees nie. Ons het gedomineer, maar ons ouens sal besef daar is nog baie te doen. Wat wel opmerklik was is hoe geheel-en-al ons die All Black skrum gedomineer het. Ek het dit nie verwag nie.

Die Bokke het verdien om 18-5 gewen.

Verdere opmerkings na aanleiding van die toets:

  • Heinrich Br├╝ssow kan heel moontlik hierdie W├¬reldbeker se legende word. Daai Vrystater is net eenvoudig ongelooflik en is myns insiens ons grootste wapen.
  • Bismarck du Plessis is ons tweede grootste wapen. Met hom en Br├╝ssow het ons al klaar twee fetchers in die span en kan ons met groter gemak die baldraers soos Spies, Schalk of Alberts insluit. Peter de Villiers is eenvoudig verkeerd om nog steeds vir John Smit te wil speel. Hy is net nie so goed so Bissie nie. Great kaptein en al daai, maar sy insluiting kan vir ons die wereldbeker kos. Kom nou Divvie; dis nog die een plek waar jy nog dom astrant is!
  • Bakkies is weer terug. Gister was hy “huge” gewees. Hy het fisies gedomineer en is weer “The Enforcer” van ouds. As Bakkies af is, is ons skrum net nie so sterk nie.
  • Morne Steyn moet speel. Ek is mal oor playmaker rugby soos wat Lambie en Butch speel, maar in ‘n W├¬reldbeker kies jy jou skopper 1ste. En niemand skop beter as Morne nie!
  • Ek begin al hoe meer van Willem Alberts op 7 hou. Ek, saam met Stuart Barnes (die bekende eenogige Engelse rugby kommentator) reken Juan Smith is/was een van die beste rugbyspelers van ons tyd en ek was baie bekommerd toe hy aangekondig het dat hy nie werelbeker toe gaan nie. Maar selfs as Schalk nie reg is nie, dink ek ons sal oukei wees. Maar sonder Br├╝ssow gaan ons sukkel.
  • Francois Hougaard moet ten minste op die bank wees in elke game. Hy is ‘n masjien. Was Fourie nie die (voormalige) beste skrummie in die wereld nie, was FH ‘n shoe in.
  • Fourie sal sy vorm moet lig, maar hy is die tipe ou wat dit sal doen.

Ek dink sonder om grappies te maak dat ons hier die span het om ons wereldbeker te verdedig. Die enigste reuse kwelpunt is John Smit. Ek wens hy wil die eerbare ding doen en bedank, maar hy sal nie en jy kan hom nie daarvoor blameer nie. Dit is uit die aard van die saak ‘n moeilike besluit en ek dink nie Peter de Villiers het die standvastigheid om so ‘n besluit te neem nie. Dit kan die rugbypublik in SA nog duur te staan kom.

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