Bittersweet year for SA rugby

2010-12-23 14:03

According to Hollywood film historians, the most uttered phrase in US movie ­history is “let’s get out of here”. Were a similar project to be ­undertaken in local rugby, it’s hard to think of anything to top the favourite line of many an under fire Bok coach: “Judge me on the World Cup.”

Those six words became ­Rudolf Straeuli’s mantra when things didn’t go his way before the 2003 rugby World Cup. Four years later, ­Jake White said similar things and now, this year, it was Peter de Villiers’s turn to plead for judgment to be ­reserved until after ­another World Cup had passed.

De Villiers will welcome the coming year knowing he still has a job, but at the same time he will know that his team will need to fashion a steady ­turnaround if they are to ­defend the Webb Ellis Cup.

The Boks lost seven of their 15 matches this year and have won just nine of their last 20 – hardly a record to instill confidence going into next year.

Although the Boks might have ­underperformed this year, South African rugby as a whole enjoyed its fair share of ­success, most ­notably with two South African teams dominating the New Zealand and Australian opposition to
contest the Super 14 final, and the Bulls making it three titles in four years with victory over the Stormers at Orlando Stadium.

But what was perhaps completely unexpected was how the Fifa World Cup helped ­rugby ­enter new territory and make new friends, resulting in a scenario reminiscent of 1995: a ­vibrant melting pot of fans from all walks of life.

Other rugby highlights this year included veterans John Smit and Victor Matfield both clocking 100 caps, and the ­return of Eastern Cape rugby ­after the Eastern Province Kings won the Currie Cup First ­Division title.

However, the sport, as ­always, was not devoid of controversy, and two Boks were ­suspended after testing positive for a banned substance while a Blue Bulls player was arrested in connection with the murder of a ­police officer in Pretoria.

All in all, a bittersweet year for South Africa’s most controversial sport, but also a necessary one in the build-up to
rugby’s most important event.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.