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Arlecchino last won the day on March 11 2017

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About Arlecchino

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  1. Hey Heinrich, I have just been given the bad news and am still in somewhat of a state of shock. I have so many memories of the exchanges between "Hawkey" and all of us on this and other forum. He was forthright, honest and knowledgeable. He will be missed by all! May I offer my most sincere condolences to you and your family for your loss.
  2. I was alerted to the negative opinions being expressed here and have accordingly responded. SuperSupporter no longer exists either on Facebook or Superbru. Names and logos have been removed so as not to trouble barlee regarding IP. There may be some residual but that will be dealt with if and when it is discovered. I simply cannot remember all of the pools that I have run in the name of this forum. For those that have participated, it has been a pleasure interacting with you and sharing the usual banter. I shall no longer post about any Superbru activity.
  3. This pool is now up and running and has 14 members - how apt https://www.superbru.com/pro14/pool.php?p=11733520#tab=leaderboard
  4. Arlecchino

    SuperBru Pro14

    Due to the inclusion of The Cheetahs and The Kings we will be running a Superbru Pool for SuperSupporterBrus. Details soon.
  5. SuperSupporter runs various pools in Superbru including football and European Rugby so look for us and join the fun. The Super Rugby Competition has come to an end and our pool was won by Chiefs Supporter Dirk Fritz who incidentally has 17'686 caps. Riaan Wiid (Blue Bulls) was runner up and third spot went to Charles Duvehage (Sharks) who is a relative newbie with just 1071 S'Bru caps. It was a veritable dice to the death with Dirk taking honours right in this last game - he obviously picked the Crusaders. Well done to all of you who took part in the SuperSupporterBrus Pool. We sadly say goodbye to two South African franchises - the Cheetahs and the Kings but you can follow their fortunes in the Pro 14 which is a league that used to be the Celtic League. Hope to see you back next year in what we all hope will be a more logical format with strength versus strength.
  6. Now known as Currie Cup Premier Division: https://www.superbru.com/curriecup/pool.php?p=11715078&tab=leaderboard#tab=leaderboard
  7. Come and join the SuperSupporterBrus Pool EPL 2017/18 https://www.superbru.com/premierleague_predictor/pool.php?p=11713695#tab=leaderboard
  8. This is the SA 'A' team to play the French Barbarians on Friday night at Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium - Kick-off is at 16:45. 15. Lwazi Mvovo, 14. Ruan Combrinck, 13. Juan de Jongh (captain), 12. Harold Vorster, 11. Makazole Mapimpi, 10. Lionel Cronje, 9. Jano Vermaak, 8. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7. Ruan Ackermann, 6. Uzair Cassiem, 5. Ruan Botha, 4. Andries Ferreira, 3. Wilco Louw, 2. Franco Marais, 1. Thomas du Toit Substitutes: 16. Ramone Samuels, 17. Ox Nche, 18. Trevor Nyakane, 19. Jason Jenkins, 20. Andisa Ntsila, 21. Dewaldt Duvenage, 22. Fred Zeilinga, 23. Francois Venter
  9. I did and tipped the result for WP & BP which lifted me 36 spots right between Lesley and Becs.....
  10. That is how I saw it as well Barns. I expressed that on Facebook and got shot down by my mate Bill van Zyl. I saw it as a fair contest and that Skosan touched the ball. Imagine a similar case where a player is chasing a ball on the ground in defense. he touches the ball whilst trying to get it under control and is nailed by an attacker. He is playing the ball and is fair game for the tackler. As for a penalty try and yellow card - Glen Jackson playing to the home officials.
  11. From Bill van Zyl As I think about the rain, I wonder whether the Bok performance yesterday was much like yesterday’s rain. A blessing in many ways, but we do need the rain to continue throughout the winter….. Has the Bok rugby drought broken? Is this the beginning of a new season for South African rugby? Or is it that old cliché of a single swallow not making it summer yet? I do not want to be the one who rains on Allister Coetzee’s parade. He has won a Test match, and that is a good thing. I hope this is just the first of many Test match wins for Allister and the Springboks. I hope that the game we watched yesterday is the forerunner of continually improving Springbok rugby. There were many things about the game that were worth celebrating; there were some very good moments, and in truth, there were some superb moments. But there were also some dire moments, perhaps too many of the dire moments…….. I want to start my discussion with one important accolade. Well done Warren Whiteley! The one thing that was hugely evident in yesterday’s Springbok effort was the arrival of a leader on the field. After the complete leadership vacuum of 2016 when the then team captain, Adriaan Strauss, simply disappeared into some invisible hole on the field of play and nobody took ownership of the leadership roles in the team it was a relief to see Warren Whiteley in charge. He was constantly talking to his players, geeing them up, congratulating good moments, clapping his hands to focus wandering attention, pointing, gesturing, barking commands. And, most importantly, working with the referee throughout the game. He might not be the best No 8 in world rugby, but he certainly has that aura of leadership. If he stays in the job for long enough he can develop into a great captain at Test match level. South Africa won a Test match against France. That is good news, but let us put the win into perspective. Much like the rain that fell over the Western Cape during the last week, it is a great start, but the drought has not yet broken. While good rains have fallen, the dams are still empty, the rivers are still stagnant, and the streams are just a trickle. Think on this: The Springboks beat France, the sixth-ranked team in world rugby. And this was by no means a full-strength French team. It was closer to a French B team! Six Nations first choice flyhalf, Camille Lopez, is missing the tour to South Africa as he has opted to undergo surgery during the French off-season. Stade Français winger Djibril Camara missed the tour due to a passport problem, and all the Toulon and Clermont players who featured in the recent Top 14 final were rested for this Test. All of Xavier Chiocci, Guilhem Guirado, Arthur Iturria, Romain Taofifenua, and Damian Penaud watched this game from the grandstand. We need to take a close look at how the Boks achieved their victory, analyze the strengths and weaknesses of both the squad and the individual players, and then look at what must be done to use this win as a foundation for the rest of the season. Perhaps we should start by looking at the worst aspects of 2016 and see if we can identify any improvement in 2017? During 2016 the Springbok defence was powder-puff at best. During the year end three test tour to the northern hemisphere the Boks made 299 tackles and missed 39. That translates into an 88,5% tackle success rate. They missed 11,5% of their tackles. Despite making so many tackles, it was the regularity with which they were dominated in the tackle that caused serious worry. The Springboks have been much praised for a “much improved” defensive effort on Saturday against France, yet the statistics are still very worrying! While making 178 good tackles they missed 36 tackles for a tackle success rate of just 85%, and that is simply mediocre at best. The saving of South Africa’s defensive effort was the much improved second line of defence and the huge improvement in the back-tackling effort. But that first line is still as leaky as the Möhne Dam after a visit by 617 Squadron. The wide channels were a very big problem in this Test. Both wings were guilty of drifting off their defensive channel, particularly Raymond Rhule, who’s defensive frailties were targeted by the French, forcing him to make a tackle count of 12. He made 12 good tackles and missed just 1. This might seem impressive on paper, but his wing channel was left exposed on a number of occasions when he was simply not there to make the tackle. Courtnall Skosan was similarly guilty of leaving his wing exposed as he committed to the inside tackle instead of staying with the team strategy of drift defence at certain moments. His own tackling was a little suspect, making four and missing two for a 50% tackle success rate. One such example of laxity by the wings was when Virimi Vakatawa found himself in space down inside the Boks' 22 and did well to get a pass out to Gaël Fickou, who was stopped just short of the try-line by a superb cover tackle from Jan Serfontein. The first line of the defence leaked but the second line stopped the danger. The outside channels need attention immediately! Whilst I am concerned about the number of tackles missed by the first line, I have to add that the pressure they put on the French backs was exemplary. They might have missed the initial tackle, but their presence in the face of the French attack was often sufficient to disrupt their flow. Forcing handling errors and risky offloads. I remain concerned about the midfield defence. Jan Serfontein made 18 tackles, including that great try-saver on Fickou, but he missed four. An 83% tackles success rate in the critical inside centre channel is below average. Jesse Kriel only made 6 tackles, but he missed 2. A 75% tackle success rate is rather poor, I would suggest. On the other hand the perceived defensive weakness of Elton Jantjies was nowhere to be seen as he made all 12 tackles he was asked to make. They might not have been physically dominating tackles, but they were enough to hold up the ball carrier until the cover defenders arrived. The back three of Coetzee, Skosan and Rhule struggled with the French kicking game, often being caught slightly out of position and back peddling to catch the ball. This is an area that will be exposed by any team with an accurate kicking game! The tackling amongst the forwards was exemplary. At the forefront of a massive effort was the much-maligned bad boy of South African Rugby, Eben Etzebeth. He made a massive 17 tackles, missing just 1 for a 94% tackle success rate. In addition his tackling was seriously dominant, stopping French ball carriers in their tracks time and again, carrying them back some meters on two significant occasions. It was an immense effort by the big guy. His lock partner, Franco Mostert, had a less impressive defensive performance, making 9 tackles, but missing 4. Malcolm Marx had an immense game in the tight-loose, but there is a worrying niggle with his defensive effort, making 3 tackles but missing 2, a factor that is missed when his overall game was discussed by the TV panel pundits. Warren Whiteley had his usual solid defensive game, making six tackles and missing none. Oupa Mohoje made 7 tackles, missing just 1, while Siya Kolisi made 14 tackles but slipped 3. In essence, it was an improved defensive effort, but there are still areas of huge concern. Have no doubt that the All Black coaching staff have made some notes. The next area of huge concern must be the Bok performance over the ball on the ground. Cold hard stats tell us the French won 98 rucks, and South Africa just 65. That is indicative of two things, firstly the French took the ball to ground more frequently than did the Boks, and that is a good thing. However, it is also indicative of a Bok failure to dominate on the ground. Take the analysis one step further and you find that both sides conceded 11 turnover on the ground. That is a bad thing! Now the stats become worrying. The French won 98 rucks and conceded 11, or 9% of their ruck ball. South Africa won 65 rucks but also conceded 11. That is a worrying 14,5% of their own ruck ball lost! Against teams that feed off turnovers and quick counterattack that statistic would be game changing! The truth lies in selection errors. South Africa took to the field without a fetcher in the run-on team nor waiting on the bench. The injury enforced absence of Francois Louw was particularly evident, with the other two stand-out fetchers currently available for South Africa, Jaco Kriel and Chris Cloete nowhere to been seen on Allister Coetzee’s radar. South Africa played the game with three wide-running loose-forwards, and that will always be a bad thing. We are not playing Touch Rugby here. The Boks are seriously missing someone who plays towards the ball in both the fetching role and in making gains over the advantage line. Someone like Duane Vermeulen or Ruan Ackermann? South Africa’s tactical kicking was vastly improved over the efforts of 2016, although Elton Jantjies first attempt at a corner kick drifted straight into touch while Andries Coetzee also over-cooked a couple, perhaps as a result of 1st Test adrenalin? South Africa only kicked the ball 20 times, and many of the kicks were controlled short range chips rather than trying to find territory deep inside the French half. It was better. Not great. Just better. Handling errors remain a bit of a problem. South Africa made 23 handling errors, which is average for all international teams yet too many for a top team, yet the French made a massive 37 handling errors. Many of the French handling errors were made in the face of superb Springbok pressure on the ball, forcing hurried passes, speculative offloads, and a couple of Hail Mary throws. Poor handling frequently resulted in promising moments going awry for the men in blue. The scrums creaked a bit in the beginning, instability on both sides of both of the scrums contributing, with Tendai Mtawarira crabbing while Frans Malherbe was guilty of over extending on the hit too many times. The Springboks found solidity the moment Steven Kitshoff took over on the loose-head side as he immediately scrummed straight. Lineouts functioned fairly well, with Malcolm Marx having cured his throwing yips of 2016. Franco Mostert was caught short a couple of times as his lifters were slow, resulting in the French spoiling his ball a couple of times. Eben Etzebeth remained untouchable at two, both on his own ball and intercepting French ball as if it were intended for him! For some obscure reason Oupa Mohoje, selected to add a lineout option for the Boks, was never used as a jumper. Oddly, he also scrummed at 8 in the Bok set-pieces despite being chosen as the blind-side flanker. I quote Allister Coetzee on this one: "If you look at those three loose forwards in terms of what we want, we want a good lineout option. We know Warren is a great lineout option but we need the fourth one in Oupa Mohoje and he's been very good at that. If you look at what he also brings defensively, he's very good." So why did you not use him in the lineouts? Not too sure what that was all about? An issue that needs urgent attention by the Attack coach, Franco Smith, is the way the Bok backline takes 3 out of 4 balls passed down the line standing still or at a one-step run. There is no running onto the ball with pace or power at all. It is static and allows better defences than that of the French to get right over the “gain” line and into your face before the ball gets to the midfield. A backline needs to go forward to be a proper attacking unit, and the Boks were not doing that. I am still unsure of Elton Jantjies’ ability under pressure. The French allowed him acres of space behind the set pieces and on clearance kicks and he remains untested in 2017. I will reserve my opinion until I have seen what happens when Ardie Savea, Sam Cane, and the like are coming at him. As the dust settles over Pretoria and happy Bok supporters sing their way into the night, I guess we can say this this performance was a step in the right direction. It was far from perfect, but it was vastly improved after the annus horribilis that was 2016. They were far more committed, better organized, playing to a discernable plan, and better disciplined too. And they were captained by a man who lead and payed with passion. Yes, there were problems. There is plenty of room for improvement, but this was a positive start to 2017. Like the recent rains in the Western Cape, it was a positive start, but we need a lot more.
  12. I harp on about certain aspects of the game of rugby which are important to me as a former player, coach and pundit. Bill has not made particular reference to these which I believe have a massive effect on a game. Paying attention to basic skills is fundamental to either scoring points or the prevention of opposition scores - tackling, passing, catching, kicking and running in space. I have gone through this team man for man and not one escapes my litmus test with a decent mark. I have always said that the spine of a rugby team is 2; 8; 9; 10; 15. In my view this team is spineless. In days gone by the number 15 in a team was the last line of defense and needed to be a rock both in the tackle and under the high ball. Nowadays that has been extended and the last line is a "back three". In this case they have serious defensive frailties. The halfbacks are the brains of a team - this team is brainless. I am desperately sorry that Duane Vermeulen is injured as he would have given this team the stability and strength under pressure that it lacks in my view. Etzebeth - "The Enforcer" is a silly boy in a man's body. Will the Boks get out of jail due to the raw nature of this French team which I suggested some time ago would not be properly representative? We will see. The real tests lie ahead in the games against our usual foes.
  13. From Bill van Zyl Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria Kick-off: 17:00 local (15:00 GMT) Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand) Assistant Referees: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Marius Mitrea (Italy) TMO: Rowan Kitt (England) After the mysteries of Michael Cheika’s selections for Australia, we have the weirdness of Allister Coetzee’s choices for South Africa. Much like Cheika, Coetzee has made sweeping changes to his team. Eight of the team that started the Bok’s last Test of 2016, against Wales in Cardiff, have been booted right out of the squad as Coetzee hands out four new caps, to Andries Coetzee, Raymond Rhule, Courtnall Skosan and Ross Cronje in his starting XV to face France. Another uncapped player, Dillyn Leyds, is on the bench and should earn his first cap if Allister does what Allister does, and that is to throw his entire bench onto the field as the game progresses. Only four of the squad that played Wales will start in this game, Warren Whiteley, Elton Jantjies, Franco Mostert and Tendai Mtawarira, all get a run-on, while the other survivors, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Bongi Mbonambi and Steven Kitshoff will start off the bench. Some of Coetzee’s thinking makes sense if we were living in normal times. He has gone with combinations as much as possible – Cronje and Jantjies as half backs, Serfontein and Kriel in the midfield, and Coetzee and Skosaan as part of a back three that, somewhat weirdly, includes Raymond Rhule. This is a hugely inexperienced back division, with just 54 caps amongst the whole lot. These are untested combinations at the highest level of the game. And I am not sure they are all the best players in the positions in which they have been chosen. I am not even sure they are all the “form” players in South Africa at the moment. I still wonder why Ruan Combrinck is not in the squad. I am not sure what Willie le Roux has done wrong. I do not know why Francois Hougaard and Frans Steyn are on the bench? I have not seen the Serfontein/Kriel midfield pairing spark at all this season…. Raymond Rhule has a reputation for being one of the worst defenders in the Cheetahs’ squad, and that is saying something in a squad that is known for seriously leaky defence! I regret to say that I am even more puzzled by his loose-forward selection. The only open-sider in his entire squad, and the form flanker in South Africa, Jaco Kriel, is nowhere to be seen, while Siya Kolisi starts as open sider despite having played on the blind side all of 2017. Oupa Mahoje gets a start on the blindside, with Whiteley at 8. And then we have the somewhat single minded Jean-Luc de Preez as back-up off the bench. Quite simply, there is no fetcher anywhere in this trio. Coetzee has handed the contestable loose ball to the French! All three his starting loosies are players who like to play out wide. None of them offer the muscle that is needed around the edges and in the rough stuff. Mahoje adds a lineout option, but he is no great tackler, with a penchant for going high and earning penalties and yellow cards in the process. He is also no great carrier of the ball. Kolisi and Whiteley like to run wide as links on the outside. There is nobody to offer the muscle and physicality one sometimes needs around the fringes. None of the three chosen ones play towards the ball. And that is a very serious problem against a French side who will play the physical game! Frans Steyn has earned a recall to the bench for his first Test selection since 2012. I am not sure of this choice, although he does provide some back-up in the flyhalf position. His experience and mongrel might have served South Africa better in a starting role. And his ultra-long range boot might just have added some early points too. Admittedly, Coetzee is missing some very important big guns. Duane Vermeulen is, once again, on the injured list, as is Damian de Allende, Lionel Mapoe, Handre Pollard, Francois Louw, Marcell Coetzee and Rohan Janse van Rensburg to name a few. Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira extends his record as the most-capped Springbok prop to 87 appearances. It will be his 25th successive Test for South Africa. I am not sure that Steven Kitshoff would not have been a better starting option, with the Beast to come off the bench. Franco Mostert gets to start alongside Eben Etzebeth in the second row, with Pieter-Steph du Toit to come off the bench. I am guessing that Coetzee wants Mostert’s mongrel and physicality to back up Etzebeth in the early stages of a game that promises to be very physical. I have very little problem with the tight five and their bench reserves. I might have started with Kitshoff and du Toit, but both offer super-sub potential. The loose trio worries me, and I think the back division is lightweight at best. Once again we have a backline short of experience and even shorter in leadership. If Jantjies wobbles under pressure again………… The total number of Test caps for the Springbok starting line-up is 265. There are 54 caps in the backline and 211 amongst the forwards, while the total on the bench is 151 caps. France have made 11 changes to the team that played the last Six Nations fixture. Only Brice Dulin, Gaël Fickou, Virimi Vakatawa and Louis Picamoles remain from that win over Wales, with Yoann Huget coming into the back three. Henry Chavancy of Racing 92 makes a first Test start for France at outside centre, with Maxime Machenaud and Jules Plisson forming the half-back pairing. Picamoles is joined in the back row by Loann Goujon and Yacouba Camara, while the new lock combination has Yoann Maestri, the captain, and Julien le Devedec together. And an entirely new front row sees props Uini Atonio and Jefferson Poirot both start, with Clément Maynadier at hooker in place of regular France captain Guilhem Guirado. Possible new caps off the bench include the La Rochelle duo Mohamed Boughanmi and Vincent Rattez. Prediction: When a team talks big, I start to worry. And the Bok management, especially assistant forward coach Johann Van Graan, have done their fair share of talking big this last week. Perhaps this is intended to give the squad (and the host of nervous supporters) some positive vibes by telling them their coaches have confidence in the team? Maybe it is somebody making a lot of noise as they walk past the local cemetery at night, just to ward off the ghosts and ghoulies? I would rather a team walk the walk, than talk the talk. We know that the French have arrived with a team that is tired after a long and arduous domestic season. We know that a number of their big guns have been left at home. None of the players who featured in last week’s Top 14 final are in the team for the first test. There is no Xavier Chiocci, Guilhem Guirado, Arthur Iturria, Romain Taofifenua, Camille Lopez, and Damian Penaud, and they represent a significant proportion of France’s better players. We know that this French team is light on experience. The game is at Loftus, where the thin atmosphere will also burn the lungs of the visitors in the latter stages of the game. In normal times the Springboks would be overwhelming favorites to bank a win. But that is in normal times, and not based on the reality of 2017. The 2016 season still looms as an embarrassing reminder of a team that lost it’s mojo and all direction, and a coach who lost his focus, completely. The lack of physicality and game plan in 2016 should have rung every alarm bell possible, yet Allister Coetzee has again chosen to go into a Test match with a hugely inexperienced squad that is woefully short on the physically abrasive and tactically astute players needed at the top level of the game. (And then there are those who point fingers at Eben Etzebeth and say he is a “bully” and “ill-disciplined” and “too physical” and all sorts of other things that frighten little children in the night. In fact he is precisely the kind of player that earned South Africa the reputation for uncompromising grit and determination in the halcyon days of Springbok glory. We need 15 Eben Etzebeth types to wear the green and gold, and not talk about dumping him for being a hard player!) There’s been a lot of talk about attacking out wide, and the likes of Coetzee and Skosaan will deliver if they get the ball in space and going forward, but the hard yards need to be done first. You have to win possession of the ball before you can take it out wide! France boast a dangerous close in ball-carrier in No 8 Louis Picamoles. Big backs such as No 12 Gaël Fickou and wingers Virimi Vakatawa and Yoann Huget will test the mettle of the Bok backline, especially out wide where Rhule and Skosaan will need to tackle a lot. (In the case of Raymond Rhule, just tackle…) And then we need to consider the defensive frailty of flyhalf Elton Jantjies…. The selection of three newbies in the back three, and yet another newbie outside back on the bench, is another gamble by Coetzee. Although France have a raw flyhalf in Jules Plisson I can see him being tasked to test the Bok back three with lots of high balls, with the muscularity of Vakatawa and Huget chasing to contest the ball in the air….. We have yet to see whether Allister Coetzee has worked out a game plan for his team… Any game plan…. I would hesitate to say that South Africa will win this one easily, but I do think that the Loftus factor and the fact that the French are coming off a long and arduous season will probably swing the game in the Springboks’ favour. I do not think it will be pretty, but the Springboks should win, just. Teams: South Africa: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Dillyn Leyds France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Henry Chavancy, 12 Gaël Fickou, 11 Virimi Vakatawa, 10 Jules Plisson, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Loann Goujon, 6 Yacouba Camara, 5 Yoann Maestri (c), 4 Julien le Devedec, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Clément Maynadier, 1 Jefferson Poirot Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Eddy Ben Arous, 18 Mohamed Boughanmi, 19 Bernard le Roux, 20 Kévin Gourdon, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Jean-Marc Doussain, 23 Vincent Rattez
  14. Am & Ralapele are out and Vermeulen will not get picked as he only arrives in SA on Tuesday.
  15. All 3 pools now over 40!
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