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.