The McLook rugby collection

A personal collection that tells the story of Springbok rugby

First test 1980; B&I Lions Add Video

Posted by McLook on July 17, 2013 at 6:21 AM 2297 Views

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12 Comments

Reply McLook
3:27 AM on July 19, 2013 
Posted the second test footage for you Kimbo.
Reply Kimbo
12:51 AM on July 19, 2013 
"...no doubt in favour of Eben Jansen in place of light weight Claassen"

Was very similar to what the 1970 and 1976 All Blacks did - poor selections and sometimes poor tactics from the management/selectors.

Yes - Eben Jansen - they took Rob Louw, the best openside fetcher in the world alongside Graham Mourie and Simon Poidevin, and moved him to No. 8 in the first test to accommodate Jansen on the flank.

The 3rd try that the All Blacks scored in that 1st test in 1981 (by Shaw), just after halftime, and which effectively won the game was a classic piece of driving NZ loose-forward inter-play between Shaw, Mexted, Kenny Stewart, and back to Shaw. That not only underlined the All Blacks forward dominance that gave them go-forward (which Jansen's size was meant to provide for the Boks), but also highlighted the superiority of the New Zealand loosies comparred to their opposites, Jansen, Stofberg, and the out-of-position Louw - although Louw still played well in a beaten pack.

The folly of that selection was also high-lighted when new caps de Villiers Visser and Burger Geldenhuys came in to the 2nd test team - and played magnicently, whereas Jansen had been lacklustre in the 1st test. Jansen is remembered here, though - for having his jaw smacked and planted on his arse by Mark "Cowboy" Shaw in that first test- whom you've no doubt heard lots about in Palmerston North. To be fair to Jansen, he was one of a long line of players who got that treatment from the Cowboy! .

In comparison, the All Black selectors, allowing for the fact they didn't have anyone available to cover at No 12 and 13 all series got pretty much every selection and tactical choice right in that series, I thought.
Reply McLook
9:22 PM on July 18, 2013 
Kimbo says...
Yes.

That is a fair assessment of the 1981 Boks.

As we've discussed elsewhere, and maybe because of the bizarre circumstances in which they had to tour which maybe affected the management's judgement, but I still think their wounds in that series (1981) were self-inflicted.

With Morne du Plessis out the way, and a new captain Wynand Claassen (who was foolishly left out of the first test selection) I got the impression the Blue Bulls brains trust ran the tactics and selections on that tour.

Nelie Smith and Claassen were the problem with regard to the game plan and selections. Claassen having gone through 56 with seagulls at loose forward was no doubt in favour of Eben Jansen in place of light weight Claassen. Nelie Smit was alway a no10 tactical game man. He took OFS to the CC final some years later by finding a no10 that could kick in Northern OFS and putting him in the pivital role of NO in the Free State team. That year the OFS went to the final playing the dullest rugby you can imagine. Remember this is a team reknown for it French like abilities when running with the ball. A province that produced players like Germishuys, Pienaar, Hermanus Potgieter, Joggie Jansen, Ruben Kruger, Jaco Reinach, Leon Vogel (who went round Bryan Williams in 1970) to mention but a few that I can think of now.

Yes the Springbok management in 1981 cost us the series as much as anything else. Morne du Plessis with his leadership abilities and mana in the team could have prevented that nonsense. Dropping Louw for that second test was just criminal.
Reply Kimbo
8:50 PM on July 18, 2013 
Yes.

That is a fair assessment of the 1981 Boks.

As we've discussed elsewhere, and maybe because of the bizarre circumstances in which they had to tour which maybe affected the management's judgement, but I still think their wounds in that series (1981) were self-inflicted.

With Morne du Plessis out the way, and a new captain Wynand Claassen (who was foolishly left out of the first test selection) I got the impression the Blue Bulls brains trust ran the tactics and selections on that tour.

They had a backline that was far superior in midfield to NZ (Bruce Robertson had retired to avoid playing for moral aobjections), and Bill Osborne was injured.

Despite that, the Boks tried the steam-roller up-front approach, with the golden boy at No. 10 to kick them to glory like they were playing at Loftus. It worked when the Boks had the motivation that they had to win in the 2nd test, but it was a great All Black forward pack they were up against (Knight, Dalton, Ashworth, Haden, Shaw, Mexted), and you were only going to do that in one game in a series.

It was only when they were points down and desperate (the last 15 minutes of the first test, the second half of the 3rd test) that they used the backline, and we actually saw what they produced in 1980.

Sadly, due to injury and the soft ground Piennar never recovered the form of 1980, Germishuys was ommitted for Domine Darius Botha in the first test (a mad selection! Surely the Blue Bulls were running things for a gutless dirty coward like Naas' brother to get picked for a test match ahead of a great player like Germishuys - who showed his class by scoring a good try in the 2nd test, after a backline incursion by Pienaar).

Most stupid of all, Rob Louw was dropped after the first test for disciplinary reasons. Having been locked up in a hotel room for a month avoiding protestors, he wisely decided the best thing to do after losing the 1st test was to go out on an "all-nighter" and have some drinks with Murray Mexted and other All Blacks.

For that the strict disciplinarian dullards Johan Claassen and Nelie Smith dropped him when they should have been sending all their guys out for a well-deserved wind down! Louw only came back into the 3rd test team when Theuns Stofberg and de Villiers Visser pulled out at the last minute through injury.
Reply Kimbo
8:34 PM on July 18, 2013 
The kick straight down Pienaar's throat that he ran back and then linked up with Louw (as discussed below) wasn't too flash either
Reply McLook
8:13 PM on July 18, 2013 
Tony Ward didn't play in any of the other test matches which was a surprise for us in 1980. However he probably got he blame for the Germishuys try. His kick that stared the try was a shocker.
Reply McLook
8:06 PM on July 18, 2013 
Regarding the Rob Louw try in this test. Apart from being in front of Pienaar when he chipped I also think the pass he received from Pienaar is suspect (slightly forward).
Reply McLook
8:00 PM on July 18, 2013 
Kimbo regarding the 1980 series.
It was huge in SA. I was 12 with 1974 series and in my last year in high school in 1980. I had the shivers for that entire first test. It was all about not allowing 1974 to happen again. The boks was great in that first test. Pienaar, Louw, Mordt and Germishuys became super stars in SA.

That try by Germishuys just pure magic. And then they reproduced in the second test. The whole country was buzzing and we wanted to see what this team could do against the All Blacks. Gerber and Carl du Plessis was waiting in the wings and there was the likes of Burger Geldenhuys and Johan Heunis that didn't even play in his series.

I still believe hat 1981 team was apart from the 1937 team the best Springbok team that went to NZ. Such a pity Morne du Plessis didn't go he could have made the difference (especially in the first test) that could have swung the series in our direction.
Reply McLook
7:50 PM on July 18, 2013 
Kimbo
Regarding Serfontein's try and the two players that dived in right at the end. It was Moaner v Heerden and Louis Moolman. Yes I also think they came in from the side and that they cleared out the defenders opening the hole for Serfontein.

Fortunately it was independent referee so the SA refs couldn't be blamed.
Reply McLook
7:45 PM on July 18, 2013 
Kimbo says...
Ahhhhh!!!

Thank you for this - I was hoping you would track this coverage down - I remember it well - although not the Afrikaans commentary. Any chance of the rest.


I've got footage of he 2nd and 3rd tests which I'll post before the end of the weekend. I am also editing the matches the 1992 AB played against Natal and the OFS. Hoping to post that as well. You might also enjoy my lastest post on the 1956 tour (last tour match in Rotorua).
Reply Kimbo
7:09 AM on July 18, 2013 
Also, looking at it closely again, I'm sure with the first try that Rob Louw is off-side. He had to stay outside of the 10 metre circle as he was ahead of the kick ahead by Gysie Pienaar until such time as Pienaar or another advancing Springbok put him onside, or a Lions player took the ball and ran 10 metres.

At the moment Pienaar takes the ball and almost simultaneously puts Louw onside, you can see Louw is right on the inside tram track/end of the lineout line (which is 15 metres infield), whereas Pienaar is at least a couple of metres infield from the outside tram track/front of the lineout line (which is 5 metres infield).

So that meant Louw was within the 10 metre circle and was offside by two maybe three metres.

However, I'm pretty sure the referee isn't going to change his mind after all these years! Good anticipation and skills by Louw to finish it off, too. Great players, both of them
Reply Kimbo
4:01 AM on July 18, 2013 
Ahhhhh!!!

Thank you for this - I was hoping you would track this coverage down - I remember it well - although not the Afrikaans commentary. Any chance of the rest of the series?

As I may have noted before on one of your sites, we got live coverage of this series in New Zealand, and then a full replay and TV panel discussion the next day with guys like JJ Stewart and Graham Thorne.

For rugby-mad Kiwi supporters it was our first chance to see what the Boks had after 4 years of silence (I don't remember any coverage of the 1977 World XV games, although ther was discussion on the "political" tv programmes over whether the einvited NZ players like Tane Norton and Andy Haden should be going), and whet our appetites in the hope the Springboks would tour in 1981. I have no doubt that the coverage helped reinforce the desire for that tour to take place. If the Lions were allowed to play the Boks, then why not the All Blacks?

At the same time the All Blacks were touring Australia, and even though we were missing some key players (especially Graham Mourie, Bill Osborne, and initially Bruce Robertson), we were being beaten by a Wallaby team that was young and talented (Ella, Poidevin, Gould, Hawker, O'Connor, Moon), and were laying the foundations for the Wallabies to be a consistent world power. But as good as it was to play Australia, every Kiwi rugby supporter always knew the greatest test was against South Africa. What we saw in 1980 really got me excited.

I recognised the names Morne du Plessis, Peter Whipp, Moaner van Heerden (not fondly!), Theuns Stofberg and Gerrie Germishuys from the 1976 series. Wasn't Germishuys magic! Wonderful player! That try he scored, starting from him running back a kick in counter-attack, linking with Pienaar, then on to Mordt, then Rob Louw providing the key link at the tackle (just the way Graham Mourie always did with intelligence and skill - if only Louw and Mourie had faced one-another in 1981. What a match-up that would gave been!), and then the devastating finishing by Germishuys. A wonderful try!

But it was the new guys who really opened my eyes. We has got replays of the Jauguar series a month or so before, so Naas Botha obviously stood out from the beginning as a classic Springbok No. 10 general.

I've already mentioned Pienaar - who really cemented himself on the hard Bloemfontein track in the 2nd test - years later a fellow Kiwi rugby mate who had played senior rugby at fullback said that when he saw Pienaar play in that game he said - "That's it! That's what a fullback can be. That's what a fullback can do - that's how I want to play!".

Rob Louw was obviously class.

But then there was Ray Mordt, Louis Moolman, and Divaan Serfontein. Wow! I just knew I wouldn't be happy or fulfilled as a NZ rugby supporter unless the All Blacks got to play, and beat these guys! Who cared if NZ was divided right down the middle in 1981 - I was 14, and I soooooo wanted to see these guys tour NZ - nothing else mattered.

Back to the 1st test of 1980. Interesting, the first 3 Springbok tries came kicks ahead that the Lionss failed to properly check. Also, the Graham Price try showed that the British still had a good forward nucleus and technical ability they had mastered during the 1970s. I distinctly remembered in the 4th test of this series (in Pretoria, I think), they really beat the Boks up front, despite being 0-3 down in the series going into that game.

The Serfontein try is really suspect - I remember JJ Stewart remaking on it at the time the way two Bok forwards (one is Richard Prentice?) come flying in from the side into the maul on the goal line clearing a hole for Serfontein.

Also, in 1987, during the first Rugby World Cup, the Irish rugby team visited my rugby club. I'd had a friend with whom I has sometimes discussed rugby memories with, and she was a big fan of what Ward did in this game - came out as a late replacement (I think it was Ollie Campbell and Gareth Davies who were both injured at that stage), and yet kicked 18 points in this test. I got him to sign an autograph for her - not something I usually ask for from rugby players.

Ward was as he is when commentating on TV - a very knowledgeable, thoughful, and sportsmanlike man.

Thanks - i really enjoyed this!