PDivvy and the Dancing Orange

28 09 2010

P Divvy Retains His Job

Despite an appalling Tri Nations campaign (and 2009 Autumn Internationals before that), the ‘most ridiculous man in world rugby’, Mr. Pieter De Villiers, has kept his job as Springbok Coach after his annual performance review. Being English rugby supporters we are able to laugh at this turn of events (and even applaud as we believe it can only help England’s chances should we meet the Boks in the World Cup) yet we do feel sorry for the average South African fan.

This is a man who inherited a world cup winning team, rode this wave into the 2009 Tri Nations and Lions Tours, and has since then been unable to arrest what at this stage appears to be an irreversible slide. To a degree this dip in performance was always going to happen as key players got older, however, a good coach would try to off set this by a mixture of clever selectorial decisions, the introduction of fresh young talent and personal inspiration.

Whereas PDV is clearly lacking on the first two aspects – his innate conservatism always seems to come to the fore – it is the third issue of inspiration we feel he most lacks. A man who so frequently causes outrage, anger or sometimes sheer wonder that he has actually said what he said, can hardly be an inspirational figure to the players you would think. The players are not stupid and one surmises that it is often simply their need to toe the party line that stops them publicly disagreeing with his statements. Of course it is possible that he is a wonderful orator in the dressing room and particularly adept at firing the players up in the manner of a Jim Telfer say, yet we have read or heard of no reports along these lines which would suggest he is not known for this either.

In short it appears to be another political decision in a country where these are still rife. What do the readers think – particularly any South Africans who may be reading this?


The Dancing Orange

The never ending saga of the most orange man in rugby with the perfectly coiffed hair continued yesterday. After months of will he, won’t he, whats going on with him style stories in the press, Gavin Henson, still technically an Osprey despite 18 months unpaid leave, has been invited to play for the Barbarians against South Africa at Twickenham on December 4th. Clearly Henson has not ‘been in a good place’ during his time out of the game, as that modern cliché goes, and one hopes that this could inspire his full time return to the game.

Over the past few weeks Henson has let it be known, much to the chagrin of the Ospreys management, that he would like to return to rugby but, due to his children with ex-wife Charlotte Church now being based in London, he would like to play in the capital. Fine – except he is still under contract with the Ospreys who have reacted angrily to these suggestions.

Sadly for Henson, his stock, which was already diminishing in a couple of seasons of poor rugby prior to his self enforced absence from the game, has seemingly sunk to all new levels and the Baa-Baas game may well be his last chance at rugby salvation. In the Compulsive Hookers view, Henson had long been a highly overrated player who despite being hailed a new Welsh ‘wunderkind’ never lived up to his billing and only gained such fame due to his personal life. This view, although admittedly combined with the fact that he has hardly got a reputation for reliability and responsibility and the possible transfer fee involved due to his contractual obligations, seems to be borne out in the lack of interest shown by the London Aviva Premiership clubs. By calling the response to his stated aim to move to London ‘lukewarm’ would be overstating it by some margin.

In fact the only club to have reportedly offered him a ‘lifeline’, as these things are inevitably called in the press, has been London Welsh who currently reside in the Championship – one below the top division. Nothing more appears to have come of that so perhaps this too will fail to bear fruit.

One thing’s for certain – we do hope he comes back as the game is undoubtedly more interesting with him and, as we said in our previous article, gives us, as Englishmen, a reason to ‘hate’ a Welsh rugby team who increasingly under the leadership of Ryan Jones seem very pleasant.*

Providing he can prove his fitness, the Baa-Baas game will provide him with an opportunity to show case his talents to the world again and could prove to be his route back into rugby. Despite our derision of him we would never wish him ill and hope that he sorts out his problems although we do believe his appearance on this Autumns ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ suggests he still has some way to go in his decision making.

* Of course we don’t hate the Welsh in actual fact – we actually quite like them, particularly the way they play, but recently the they have been lacking a figure like a Neil Jenkins, a Colin Charvis or a Scott Quinnell – in short some one to direct our traditional English-Welsh rivalry against…



2 responses

6 10 2010
Nick Muller

Racism is still very much alive in SA. De Villiers was appointed SA rugby coach purely on race, as he was the best of the “non-white” coach available. He is exactly what the South African government dictates behind closed doors. The fact is that SA have some exceptional players and these players hide even further incompetencies in De Villiers’s ability as a coach and in Oregan Hoskins’ leadership style in the SA Rugby Union.

South African soccer (sigh), as the world cup highlighted, is a shambles. However, irrespectively of how poor local managements was, they realized that they needed help and contracted arguably the world’s best coach in Carlos Perreira. That is another story.

Jake White, the former rugby world champion coach has offered his services to SA Rugby, but to no avail. Hoskins knows better and has kept De Villiers. The only sense of pride that the SA Rugby pawns have, is in their fat pay-checks and the fact that they have the best seats in town – for now. National pride in South Africa means zero to these imposters§

7 10 2010

Are you South African Nick? I agree as I thought it was almost certainly a political decision – although one that as an Englishman I am quite happy with… With PDV at the helm the Boks become a much less scary prospect come the world cup next year. Sad times and I suppose it is a credit to the players themselves that they even remain competitive.

Thanks for commenting.

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