The Alternative Rugby Review | 16/17 August 2013

This is not the place to find who won, who scored, or who played well. This is what I thought of what I saw, mostly useless information, and why the refs and commentators were sh1t.

 Currie Cup | Sharks v Golden Lions

I’ve heard of Anthony Volmink before, but I remember him as a skinny guy that I didn’t think much of. But that first try of his was special, in a Joe Rokocoko kind of way. He’s fast, he’s bulked up, and later in the game he showed some real skill. I hope I hear more about him.

What I didn’t need to hear was Andy Capostagno saying that Sharks centre Heimar Williams has “Nice hips.” Regardless of whether he does or doesn’t, Andy, there’s absolutely no need to say so.


For most of the first half it sounded like the main broadcast microphone was in the children’s section. The only thing worse than hearing high-pitched voices in the background is hearing them boo when a shot is being taken at goal. Be better, Durban kids.

Chris van Zyl made his debut at lock for the Golden Lions. The brother of Anton and Nick, son of Mike, and a kid I remember from Rondebosch Boys’ High, he seems to have followed in the van Zyl tradition of doubling in size after leaving high school.

Elton Jantjies just looks better in a Golden Lions jersey. And as a Stormers supporter, I feel like I’m very well qualified to say that.

Willie Britz could be this year’s token crazy hair guy. No sign yet of token crazy beard guy (come back Josh Strauss, we miss you), but it’s still early in the season I suppose.


Golden Lions flank Jaco Kriel should’ve been denied his try because the pass he received from Deon Helberg was forward. The commentators trotted out the usual “backwards out the hands” line, but just saying it doesn’t make it true. It was a clumsy shovel, and it was forward from the day it was born. Hell of a chip and chase, though.

 Rugby Championship | Australia v New Zealand

Have you noticed how the Australians always get a strong male voice to sing their national anthem? It’s a good idea, because Advance Australia Fair sounds more like a girl group pop song than an inspiring and intimidating anthem.


Having Hore and Woodcock in the same front row is enough to make any grown man giggle. In funny names terms, there hasn’t been a better front row combination since Jonas Bigg, Phillip Scabby and Colin Pooper packed down for England in the 1940s.

How does Ma’a Nonu keep making the All Blacks starting XV? He wasn’t even a regular for the Highlanders this season, and when he did play he was poor.

Matt Toomua got his first cap on Saturday, but the way the Aussies played – shifting every ball two channels away from the breakdown, every time – they could’ve picked anybody to stand at 10 and just catch and pass. Anybody except Quade, obviously.

There have been and are faster wings than Ben Smith, and bigger ones too, but his balance and intelligence make him one of the most dangerous outside backs in the world right now. Then again, it’s always been pretty easy being an All Black wing.


There was a lot of chat between the teams after the game, with players just hanging around on the field chatting to the opposition. That’s nice to see, from an old-fashioned amateur’s point of view, but what would Allan Border think?!

Of the English opposition, Border said: “Don’t talk to them at all as they go by.”
And: “I am not talking to anyone in the British media … They are all pr1cks.”

More than 68,000 people watched the game at Stadium Australia, an impressive effort and an indication that there’s no hangover after the Lions tour. Imagine how many would show up if Australia started winning.

Rugby Championship | South Africa v Argentina

I like the Zulu warrior that leads the Springboks out onto the field before home games. They must have been a fearsome sight in battle, the Zulus, what with fireworks shooting off their shields and out their assegais like that.

When it comes to pre-match ceremony there’s an unwritten rule that there should never be more dignitaries than players. That rule was broken on Saturday as everybody who has ever been in politics in South Africa shook hands with the two teams.

The only things more abundantly present than dignitaries were vuvuzelas.


And don’t tell me vuvuzelas add atmosphere, they do exactly the opposite. It’s impossible to get any sense of atmosphere, any rise or fall in the crowd, any rousing crescendo or hushed anticipation, when all you can hear is a constant drone of noise.

I’m glad to see Willie le Roux in the starting XV, but I’m worried he’s struggling to come to terms with his new popular profile. Take his hair, for example. His latest ‘do’ is somewhere between farm boy and Backstreet Boy, and that’s a terrible place to be.

After and despite 51 tries in 87 Test matches, Bryan Habana still hasn’t learned to side step. He is awesome in a straight line, but he changes direction like somebody is steering him using the arrow keys on a keyboard.

By 10 minutes into the second half the game was won and I could switch to the men’s 200m final from the World Champs in Moscow. Where things were even more one-sided.


Pierre Spies is nursing a bicep injury (sustained during his usual 2000 curls before breakfast) but the stats still show he made 37 tackles and 467 running metres during the game.

Fourie du Preez put his incredible return to Springbok duty down to the special water he’s been drinking in Japan. “From the foothills of Fukushima,” he said, “I’ve never felt better.”

A new Mayan manuscript has been discovered, predicting that the world will end the day Jean de Villiers retires and Heyneke Meyer makes Adriaan Strauss captain. It says, “One man will burn so bright with rage that all humanity will be destroyed.”


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