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Will we argue against Prof. Tim Noakes AGAIN??? June 21, 2011

Posted by cmfry in Rugby, Sport.
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South Africa national rugby union team (sevens)

Image via Wikipedia

I’m currently reading ‘Branding & Marketing You’ by Donna Rachelson. She takes 9 prominent South Africans from various fields and outlines how they have built their successfull personal brands through various means. (For more on the book, please see the website here)

1 person she profiles is Professor (Dr.) Tim Noakes. He is probably the world’s foremost sports scientist, and a well respected figure in the world of sports medicine. In 2006, very correctly, he enthusiastically cautioned the Springboks against over-playing the experienced players in the year leading up to the Rugby World Cup. Thankfully, his common sense prevailed, and we famously triumphed in Paris.

However, it wasn’t only the fact that we were well-rested going into the tournament that won us the Webb Ellis trophy. Our biggest threats, Australia and New Zealand, were dumped out of the competition at the first knock-out hurdle, while we faced England in the final, who we trounced 32-0 in the pool stages. Furthermore, back then, the Super Rugby competition had 14 teams (which means less matches and less money), and our pool of young talent was not nearly as deep as it is today.

Today, the Super Rugby competition has now 15 teams, with 20 derbies amongst the South African teams, as opposed to 10 in 2007. And everyone knows that the intensity of these matches are monumentally high (just ask the Bulls and Sharks players who played at Loftus last Saturday). This would’ve meant the risk of more injuries.

However, it looks like the core of experienced players were well managed in the pre-season this year, and most of them, save for some the Stormers’ players (read Schalk Burger and Andries Bekker) should be in peak physical condition, come September this year (I say this because, hopefully, they would play at least 2 more games then any other South African franchise, and hence need a proper rest in July and August). The exciting aspect thrown into this year’s mix is that, finally, South Africa has a well of young talent chomping at the bit, ready to make their presence felt at senior international level. I hope that Pieter de Villiers uses the Tri-Nations to blood these youngsters and select the cream that rises from that tournament to tour New Zealand. Our core of experience (John Smit, Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, Fourie Du Preez, Danie Rossouw), although long in the tooth in rugby terms, look primed to give it one last hurrah, which only bodes well in giving the youngsters the support they need to excel and this level.

Again, although we have seen to manage our players well, rugby is still a collision sport, and anything can happen. But with 80 days to RWC 2011, South African rugby is looking increasingly healthy, and a successful defense of the biggest prize in rugby football, in our greatest opponent’s backyard, might not be a pipe dream.

We have seen to heed the good professor’s call while not diluting our excellent level of professionalism and quality. Might our administration finally have its house in order?

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