Dear Sports 24 Readers, (26/08/14)

I’ve visited South Africa in 1978 touring playing rugby with the Club Atletico Estudiantes from Parana (my natal province of Entre Rios). Also went in 1980 touring with the South American Jaguars XV, we had a very successful tour.

We lost our first test to the Bokka 23-9 at Wanderers, Johannesburg. Yet we scored a pushover try (obviously, I still remember it, as if it was yesterday). I played No 1 that afternoon and Johan Strauss was my opposite No 3. At the after match function Dr. Dannie Craven read out the team for the 2nd test in Durban and in spite the win, the poor Strauss was dropped (he faced the music!)

Why is it that when a team loses a match the only way to expiate those guilty souls is with blood?

The likely outcomes of a RUGBY match are three: Win, Lose or Draw!

So, it seems to me it’s a very arrogant and non-sense attitude (no apologies for my expression) to expect: A MUST WIN ignoring the efforts of the opposition! May be fine to expect it before the match, however once is done we must accept the result with some dignity and fairness for what it is: “a reality in the past”. Don’t need to talk about the referees (plural), I was taught long time ago that the less said the better. As for the weather, simply we must put up with and adjust our tactics, mind and body accordingly.

Winning is winning, (no matter what) and the Springboks did that 33-31 in Salta last Saturday but some people are asking for the head of Pieter De Villiers (SA scrum coach) What else do you want, to be served a match on a silver platter?

The Argentine scrum has been “dormant” in recent years but if you know your rugby, would also know that Argentina is scrum proud nation to the tee and they are back with avenge. Knocking on the doors of the “top 3”

To the “scrum experts”, you would know well that for a pack to “gel” and play at the unison “orchestra like”, a lot of work is needed to get a scrum humming forward. In this preparation process, coaches and players need to suppress their “egos and reputations” and work very hard for the greater good of the pack and team.

Regarding “technique”, no one has an iron clad guarantee and assurance that will perform 10 out of 10 for 100% of the time.Go and ask top golfers, tennis and football players. Only the constant and on-going Perfect Practice Prevents Piss Poor Performance (there you are the infamous 6 P’s)

Regarding International Rugby, I always observe the importance of “Adjusting to the 3 vital Variables”: a) Referee; b) Weather; and Opposition. It seems to me that South African players, coaches, ex Boks and public are doing a disservice by not giving the due “full credit” not only to the Pumas’ front row but to the whole eight. By doing so, they will learn a hell of a lot more about and improve this past pedestrian scrummaging performance.

Nevertheless, for your information, it was Izak Van Heerden who in 1964 taught “Scrummaging & Rugby” to the yet to be called PUMAS who toured SA in a very successful 16 match tour in 1965 when they defeated the Junior Springboks 11-6 at Ellis Park.

Best regards,

Enrique TOPO Rodríguez


About toporod

Triple Rugby Union International (1977-1991) The ART of SCRUMMAGING - 2013 Gold Medal Winning Author - [IPPY] - 2014 Silver Medal Winner [eLit Awards] - Enthusiastic writer on Rugby and Bipolar Disorders - International Rugby Consultant and Public Speaker -
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