About legacies

I never thought Victor Matfield was anything close to outspoken; on the contrary I thought he was a pretty decent guy, very realistic in terms of rugby, as he knows what it takes to climb on to the top.

Just the opposite of what the Watsons have always done.

That's why it's so thrilling to see him talking about legacies, or the Bulls building a Crusader-like legacy, with just less than a week to go before the final. Should you not be concentrating, talking your chances more down than up and focusing on what's surely going to be a massive game?

All odds may be in your favor, but in rugby it is tackles, not odds, what wins titles; And only after a number of titles has been won (and the key word is after) careless journos write on legacies. Duncan Johnston says Victor Matfield has gone one step or six too far... For once I agree.

There's only one legacy in Super Rugby. And it has not been a matter of winning one year or two. In Canterbury they have a culture of rugby, a culture of winning. Players have come and gone and still the culture has been mantained. The Andrew Mehrtens left room for the Daniel Carters, the Blackadders, for the McCaws, the Marshalls were substitued by the Ellises... and the important things, the things that have made of the Crusaders a successful team have been preserved.

Back to Earth, you have not won anything yet, Mr Matfield, and you would do well to stop thinking in legacies and start thinking about the Chiefs, or keep dreaming at your own risk.


Anonymous said...

I tried to write something about the BUlls and Matfield and legacies but maybe it didn't show up. I tend to disagree with you about Matfield and the BUlls if I am reading you correctly. Up until the isolation period ended in about 1991, SA were and still are the only side, other than the Lions, to win a real test series(3 matches) in NZ and it wasn't until after that that NZ had done it to SA. I would bet that there are molre Boks from the Bulls than the Crusaders and maybe even the Blues combined All Blackss. That would be some sort of legacy. The S14 is a new competition and may not even survive another ten years , certainly with the same teams and setup. You can't compare 100 years and twenty years. Sorry.


sesenta y cuatro said...

Nice to see you disagree... Different points of view make people wiser and conversations funnier :-)

First of all, I will agree the Boks have always been a formidable opponent; actually the only team to have consistently presented a positive record against the All Blacks. I rate them, Boks and All Blacks as the best two teams in 100 years time.

Who's best is a matter of grieve among kiwis and saffers and is not the thing we're debating, and not one I want to go into.

But I have the feeling that you are not being fair in your comparison between the Bulls and the Blues or the Crusaders.

Since the beginning of the Super Rugby, Transvaal and Northern Transvaal have been almost exclusively feeding the Springboks, with some key players from Western Province here and there. The fact that the Bulls offer more players to their national team than the Crusaders do to the All Blacks does not necessarily mean much, instead it reflects the reality: neither Lions nor Cheetahs have ever been up to the Super 14 level. And Stormers, only from time to time.

New Zealand franchises have, on the other hand, been far more competitive and have been able to provide the All Blacks with more quality players. The Bulls are powerful, true. But feeding the Boks is not the measure of their success. The measure of their success should be looked in international fixtures.

Let's look at them; Northern Transvaal emerged as a force inside South Africa some 40 years ago.
During this time, the Boks have played 247 tests, with 159 wins and 80 losses. That includes 20-19 against Australia, 14-7 against France and 14-11 against England. Good, but not so impressive. Not Bok stantard.

It is from 1995 on that the Boks have had their biggest successes of the last 40 years. 2 RWCs, 2 Tri Nations and one Super Rugby title. Is that a legacy than the Bulls can claim by their own right?

I don't think it is. Every year since 1996 they compete in the Super Whatever title and they can claim only one. Brumbies and Blues have done better.

If Matfield was talking about the Bulls legacy, Northern Transvaal, then he needed something more than the Boks statistics over the last 100 years. The Crusaders, for their part, have a successful history of 7 titles and that is a legacy in terms of Super Rugby. I have the feeling that Matfield rates the Super Rugby just one step behind the RWC and, of course, ahead of the Tri Nations. If that's the case, the legacy is just being built now, and if that's the case, Matfield has been too eager to speak, as his side must still show they are worth a second trophy.

Anonymous said...

I guess my other comment did not make it either but well said on your part. I can only partially remember what I said last evening but it has something to do with the fact that I think that the BOKS were better pre isolation, that the great players and administrators and entertainers like Louis Luyt, Leon Schuster, and Tiaan Strauss have quit rugby or left the country. I know from personal experience that the height of the Boks was wgen they played the NZ Cavaliers in 1987(disguised All Blacks). The carry over of the apartheid regime makes a mockery of the rugby today. DEspite the fact that the Boks have won two RWC I think that both were because the competition was rather weak. The South Africans have not really taken the S14 seriously until the last four or five years. The success may not have been there because of the importance of the Currie Cup and the 3N...I think there are too many tournaments.
Note that when the Boks came out of isolation and played that match against NZ in Capetoen in 1991(?) the Boks were leading the historical series something like 20-17 0r 21-19.
To be perfectlt honest I really think the Afrikaners don't know how to handle the regime change like many other countries recovering from political pasts of the 19th century.
I always ask myself each year, is this the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end? There does not seem to be an answer and I am certain that this plays or preys upon the sport of rugby in South Africa as we speak.