Tuesday, October 4, 2011

RE:"Samoans, a disgrace to world rugby" By Greg Hurvitz

(This link will take you to a copy of the original article)

Dear Greg,

Your blog suggests that you're a fanatic when it comes to sports, and a quick squiz of your articles reveal that you cover sport events pretty well. However, you have made an error in not only writing the referred article, but also publishing it online. I respect your attempt to retract the article from your blog, and unfortunately it has been dispersed in various island circles, namely Samoans. (If you familiarised more with Samoan culture beyond the rugby field, you would understand too, that we spread news more efficiently than the African drums)

The tone of your blog seemed to show the biased view towards "Western Samoans" or otherwise you have a strong passion for the sport, I will assume the latter and address this solely.
Firstly, I am not a fanatic as you maybe, but I enjoy a good game, and I enjoyed playing Rugby union many moons ago. The game between the Springboks and the Manu was a good game (please note that I refer to them by their team names, not by the entire nation)
The reference to "physicality" and bringing up Brian Lima and his tackles tempts me to refer to eye-gouging, BURGER and his record of foul-play etc etc. But I won't because I believe you are referring to this game in particular right?

It appears that the frustration and focus on the physicality of the Manu was your blindspot to seeing the tact and strategy that was used against the Springboks. This is evident in the score being a tight 13-5 (Rank 2-Rank 10). For example, when the Manu had the ball, they would pass the ball to the backline on the third or fourth phase, and Census Johnston (tight-head prop) was waiting to receive the ball, and broke the advantage line numerous times, knowing very well that Tuilagi was the marked man. This isn't just physicality, this is intelligently using their physicality. The use of the box kick, drawing in players, speed to the ruck,(and selectively choosing which rucks to counter) the running game, there is so much to list, and all this combined with their "physicality" is a great combination to envy.

In addition, you can not deny that the Manu were hard done-by with the calls from the ref. And furthermore, Springboks slowed the ball down with clever use of hands-in-the-ruck (I personally think it takes skill to get away with that, so props to the Boks for that) and using low tackles to inevitabley force the Manu team to fend lower and as a result falling with ball and having a prepared loose forward on his feet, and ready to turnover the ball. (That is clever play)

This resulted in Paul WILLIAMS hanging onto BRUSSOW, because WILLIAMS knows that BRUSSOW is a champ at pilfering and was frustrated by BRUSSOW slowing the ball. And lets not be sooks, South Africans are tough, and the strike was no more a tickle than a KO punch according to IRB stipulations. (Actually I was quite disappointed to see BRUSSOW pull off a FIFA-Hollywood display).

So let's not discount that the Manu have ability to implement and execute strategic play. They also entered the field to play rugby, just the same as the Springboks did, this fact is undeniable. And to say that the Springboks are physically inferior is a load of hogwash. The Springbok forwards are reputable for being tough-as-nails and stragegising great pick'n'go, maul plays, and they did not look inferior, in fact they matched the physicality. (Just like Wales, Fiji and Namibia did)

There is no need for the IRB to address the style of rugby that the Manu play. Lest I remind you that they beat the Wallabies (by strategy and a touch of physicality), AND they've qualified for the World Cup since day dot. Although I agree with you on the inconsistency, I agree on a completely different platform, especially the resting periods granted to the tier one teams (like the Springboks) in comparison to the tier two and minnow teams.
You are correct in that the Springboks have improved incredibly in discipline(save BURGER) and are an elite team, but to label Manu Samoa's performance as "childish and disgraceful" has to come down to your view of the Springboks through rose-coloured glasses. This statement is as exaggerated as the tweets from SAPOLU are.

IRB do not need to take any action towards Manu Samoas behaviour on the field, they are a professional outfit, with professional players. If any action needs to be taken, it's the treatment of all the teams that are not part of the higher-tier 1-society.

To finish off, I will assume that you are not familiar with Samoan culture. And to refer to the Manu Samoa as "Western Samoa" and "Samoans" implies that you are referring to every person that falls under this category. I was unable to read the 310 comments that I noticed on your article, but I am certain a huge percentage of these comments were from Samoans and consisted of angry remarks, and outburst reactions similar to a WILLIAMS palm which is possibly why the article was removed. But I would encourage you to reassess your views of Samoans because of your perception of the Manu Samoa v Springboks last weekend. Make an attempt to see the game analytically and not as a biased Springboks fan(atic). You appear to have a successful blog, and to circulate this blog in a city and country lacking Samoan representation, I appeal to you to reconsider your views. In fact, try a holiday to Samoa some time, you are more than likely to return as a Manu Samoa fan.




  1. Love this! Too bad I couldn't find his article. Only skimmed through it first time, didn't think it was going to be removed. Sigh. Oh well.

  2. Thanks Stella, I know just the place that took a carbon copy of the article. Will post up on my blog.

  3. Thanks for that DALEO79!
    It really show's how small minded some people really are! When someone like Hurvitz decides to write an article about the "Western Samoans" (Manu Samoa), it goes to show that our boys (Manu Samoa) brought some fear into the game, and to the fans. Manu is a threat in future rugby! Hurvitz is afraid of future rugby, because in 4 yrs time Manu will take the reigns from Sth Africa, who is known to be one of the most physical/tough and competitive teams of our decade. Greg Hurvitz, if you see yourself as a professional journalist? or radio personality in SA, then why is it that you feel the need to delete your blog? If you believe in what you write, then I think you should be professional enough to take the criticism, good or bad that comes with it. I guess the "Western Samoans" really got to you! *here have a glass of coconut juice*

  4. Great articulation! Some people (Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu) need to take a leaf out of your book in terms of addressing the issues at hand and not exaggerating their emotive responses. Look forward to the carbon copy being posted! Enjoyed reading this blog!

  5. Manuia, Dave. We needed this sole. Manuia le aso

  6. very much like your response dave!!!!

  7. Malo lava - really enjoyed your responding article to Hurvitz - too bad a certain rugby lawyer couldn't be as tactful as you were :)

  8. Glad you wrote this blog, and that so many Samoans liked it on facebook, as it lead me to reading your blog, which I really enjoyed.

  9. I am really on the fence in regards to Sapolu. I think he went about it wrong taking to twitter and how he attacked the IRB and the referees and using derogatory language. He is a very intelligent guy and i think he could've gone about it another way and been more professional and articulate about it. I also think and am concerned with the support that he has garnered from the majority of Samoans. It kind of makes us look like bad losers making excuses after our two loses which isnt a good reflection for our people. On the other hand I admire him fighting for what he believes is justice for the future of Samoan rugby and willing to sacrifice his profesional rugby career in doing soo is kind of noble. I am however happy that the SRU has shyed away from the situation as Samoan rugbys future could pay dearly if they were to stand by Eliota and go after the IRB. The majority of Samoans may think it is cowardice but at the end of the day we just HAVE to look at the bigger picture. I believe we would suffer alot more if Samoa was to come under the hammer of the IRB and not recieve any more fundage, support and possibly be dissalowed to play international rugby or even be barred form the next RWC.

  10. Great article Dave...Keep em coming.

  11. Thanks for feedback all. About Sapolu, I share similar thoughts with u perthafakasi, but also I acknowledge I don't have inside knowledge and experience like him. There's a time where one has had enough, and he (and more silent players) seems to have got there......and let's not forget he's a good player. My mention of his tweets was his use of political life-changing events to make his point. And the media took the bait and Sapolu effortlessly gets the spotlight, he's not just a pretty face.

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