Category Archives: The Coach

The coach: the most important man at the club

How a siege mentality drives customers away

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Over the year’s we’ve been big critics of the club and the way it almost seems to set out to deliberately alienate fans. Full credit to Dai Young for answering points raised by fans – this is a first – but once more, even when trying to take one step forward, the club has succeeded in taking two steps backwards.

Cardiff supporters are rightfully justified in feeling indignant about some dreadful performances by Cardiff under Dai Young’s leadership. Who can forget the humiliation at home to Northampton last season, the slaughter in Biarritz? Fans pay good money to follow and support the team and feel let down when substandard performances humiliate their efforts to be real fans.

So let’s look at Dai’s points.

  • “I don’t have to justify myself to anyone.” Criticism of Dai is not done by true Cardiff supporters.

Here begins the first lesson. Never ever openly criticise your customers. They “buy” your product, and pay your wages. You may think they are imbeciles and that you know far more about everything and anything than they do, but never EVER show an arrogant streak. Comments like, “I am answerable to the supporters”, “I fully understand the fans frustrations”, “We have to improve – and improve quickly” will find a more sympathetic ear.

  • “Critics of Cardiff have no sense of reality.”

Clearly Dai’s sense of reality is different from those who complain about Cardiff’s performances this season (and last). Cardiff fans believe defeating the worst team in the Celtic League, a team that conceded over 100 points in their previous two Celtic League games is a realistic expectation. Dai does not. What does that say about how low Dai is aiming this season?

  • “Putting Cardiff “on top” will not happen overnight.

We’ve seen a constant slide in Cardiff’s performances over the last four seasons. From European Quarter Finalists (hey! We even made the final, once!), to European no-hopers in the space of three to four seasons. What on earth makes Dai think that the fans are expecting to be “on top”? A win away to the worst team in the Celtic League would do fine for starters, and to arrest the constant decline would be nice. “On top”? That’ll be the day!

  • “When the full squad is available, things will turn around. I will not blame the players.

When the full squad is available, snow will fall in the Sahara. All squads have injuries. Well conditioned squads have fewer injuries. Draw your own conclusions. As for not blaming the players, well, a good coach would never say we lost because the players are rubbish. But, a smarter coach would say, “Our performances have been sub standard. The players know that if they do not improve, we will face severe problems this season.”

  • “Hardly any of the signings have played yet.

This is an interesting one. Fester has played and his crass behaviour let himself, the club and the supporters down. Gareth Williams hasn’t played because he was injured. Wasn’t this checked before he signed? Andy Moore took one games to get injured – conditioning? Why was Shanklin signed given the weakness elsewhere in the squad and the obvious fact he’ll barely play for Cardiff this season? Crompton – likewise – is another sick note specialist. Dan Baugh was offered a new two year contract. Why? Isn’t it obvious he’s past his best? Likewise for Matt Allen – both good soldiers for the club, but injured and lacking the impact of old.

  • “Last season, I didn’t see it (losing away from home) as a particular problem.

I really can’t follow this comment at all. Three words for your Dai – Northampton, Ulster and Biarritz. There, now please explain again why you can’t see this as a particular problem.

  • “True fans should take time to see what is happening at Cardiff.

How much time, Dai? Given the decline over the last four seasons, and this being your second year at Cardiff, how much time do you need to beat the worst club in the Celtic League?

  • “When the World Cup is over, we will be more than a match for anyone.

What at? Rugby? Come on Dai. Wake up! Every other team in the League will be strengthened. The vast majority have far more players at the World Cup than Cardiff!

 

I’m in a minority in that I’m prepared to give Dai the benefit of the doubt. Blaming him for the ills at the club severely misses the point. The comments made in the press show how poor the club is at speaking with supporters, and how incapable they are of attracting new ones. The lack of dialogue between fans and the club has worsened. As I’ve said before, familiar faces are no longer there on the terraces.

It’s about time the club came clean and stated it’s aspirations for this season, otherwise fans will become even more disenchanted with substandard performances against pretty dire opposition.

Good luck against Edinburgh, Dai! You going to need it!

 

Dai’s Comments

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“I don’t think I have to justify myself to anyone. I have been selected to do this job by Cardiff and by the Welsh Rugby Union. Such criticism is disappointing from people who call themselves Cardiff supporters. There is no sense of reality in terms of the expectations put on Cardiff these days.”

“I can understand their frustration, but we have only played three games. I know our supporters want us to be at the top and we are working extremely hard to do that. But it will not happen overnight. However, I am convinced that we will turn it around once we get the full compliment of our squad back.”

“I will not blame the players, I cannot question their attitude or their commitment. I find it remarkable people are saying we have not signed very well when hardly any of our signings have played yet.”

“So where is the evidence? Gareth Williams and Tom Shanklin have been with Wales and Gareth is now injured. Jonny Vaughton has played a friendly and is now injured, as are Andy Moore and Darren Crompton and Craig Quinnell is suspended.”

“As far as the away form goes I accept that in the two defeats we have had this year we were poor and extremely disappointed with ourselves.”

“But last season I didn’t see it as a particular problem and I am convinced we will turn things around.”

“I feel frustrated more than under pressure, but you don’t take this job if you cannot cope with pressure.”

“I have confidence in myself, the people I have got around me and the players. Although things have been disappointing and frustrating it is up to me and the players to prove the critics wrong.”

“We still had enough quality on the field to have won both those games. All I can say to the fans, the true fans, is to take the time to see what is happening at Cardiff to get a full picture.”

“Most of the pundits I have listened to think we have a poor squad. That’s their opinion but I disagree with it. I don’t know how they can say that when we haven’t had most of our signings on the field.”

“I believe, when we do get everybody fit and others back from the World Cup, we will be more than a match for anybody.”

Special thanks to the bois at the Western Mail for lifting ideas liberally from this site and getting Dai Young (CRFC) to answers questions raised here. (1) (2)

A lack of ambition?

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2000
Dec 10 Edinburgh 29-11 L
Jan 20 Toulouse 38-27 L
Jan 27 Gloucester 21-15 L
2001
Sept 15 Munster 10-51 L
Oct 6 Montferrand 10-37 L
Nov 3 Glasgow 32-47 L
2002
Apr 19 Edinburgh 32-10 L
Sept 6 Connacht 23-22 L
Sept 14 Borders 15-18 W
Oct 18 Ulster 25-6 L
Nov 30 Edinburgh 22-26 W
Dec 7 Northampton 25-11 L
2003
Jan 18 Biarritz 75-25 L
Sept 5 Glasgow 23-13 L
Sept 26 Borders 22-20 L

Another weekend and yet another sub-standard performance full of unforced errors and a half hearted mental attitude. Should we be surprised by yet another capitulation by Cardiff away from home? And we really mean, AWAY FROM HOME, not a forty minute bus ride down the M4. Half the players probably travel longer to get to training than they would to play AWAY games in Wales!

So why does the clubs woeful record playing outside Wales continue? In the last three seasons (going back to that memorable day at Vicarage Road), Cardiff have played 14 times outside Wales and only managed a victory on two occasions. During the season previous to the victory over Saracens, the bois also managed a victory against the Harlequins.

So does the club focus on winning away from home? Do they prioritise away games? Do we see extra priority being given to curing this achiles heal? Uh no. Things have got MUCH worse. Think how pleased we’d all be with a loss in Toulouse by only 11 points! Back then, we were gutted. Losing by only six points to Gloucester? Fantastic result! Back then, we were suicidal.

Clearly targets have been lowered as fast as standards have fallen. Three seasons ago we had a squad that we thought could compete in Europe. We stood in The Shed and thought we had a chance of making the semi-finals. Now?

The playing staff at CAP are of a considerably lower standard than they were three seasons ago. Back then, Peter Thomas was talking about winning the European Cup and high profile players laid the foundations to the claim that Cardiff were the best club in Wales. Now, they’re barely the best club in Cardiff.

The drive has gone, the willingness to invest has gone and the club seems to be more interested in breaking even in the short term than investing in the future. And that DOESN’T mean sacrificing a bunch of kids to yet another mauling of their confidence. When the club should have been investing in an experienced Argentinian tight head, or a World Class southern hemisphere second row/number 8, the limit of their ambitions was an English journeyman and re-signing Rob Appleyard.

Following defeat against the worst club in the Celtic League – a team who conceded more than 100 points in their previous two games – it seems pretty clear that if the club continues with its present lack of investment, we can expect a tustle with Ruddock’s team for who will NOT be playing in the European Cup next season.

The Supporters

The same old faces are definitely NOT around on the terraces as they were last season. One season of kids against men was bad enough, but rugby fans are simply not prepared to pay to watch another season of sub-standard amateur performances. Even hardened Cardiff nuts are not supporting the club as they once did. Staging home games on a Friday night effectively limits potential spectators to those who work within one hour of CAP. Contrast the clubs attitude with a hugely successful club like Leicester and you begin to see how badly mismanaged Cardiff really. Despite an army of season ticket holders and a guaranteed five figure gate, Leicester stood on principle last season and refused Sky’s request to play on a Friday night. Can you imagine Cardiff RFC doing the same thing?

Away trips on a Friday night show the clubs utter disregard for supporters – Cardiff is most definitely NOT a “supporters’ club”. The club has always been reluctant to offer any assistance to organising away trips (other than as a means of ripping off supporters with inflated travel costs) and instead relies on the dedication and commitment of those who love the club and DON’T put money in their pockets at the forefront of every decision. Away games on a Friday night mean that supporters have to take a day off work to follow the team. When the location for some games – Borders and Connacht are two that spring to mind – is so far from any easy means of transport, the club clearly couldn’t be bothered whether there are Cardiff supporters at the game or not. And the way the club plays away from home, that’s probably not such a bad thing!

Now that we have the Rags attracting more attention (by making travelling to away games nigh on impossible), the club is using rugby at CAP EVERY Saturday as a way of increasing revenue. Whether the first XV win away from home or not is largely irrelevant to the club, as long as those fivers keep getting spent to watch the Rags.

So there you have it. Cardiff RFC is clearly more focussed on bleeding money from supporters in the short run than investing in a winning first XV. Away games are irrelevant – just look at the results! Filling CAP every week is what matters.

… and the implications ….?

Cleary this approach to the running of the club is not sustainable. Once the core supporters lose interest in away games, how long before they lose interest in watching the Rags getting thumped by forty points? How long before they find something better to do with their weekends? When the first XV start bringing the same form they exhibit away from home to shambolic performances at home, how long before gates start falling at CAP? We all know that this has already happened and the club is on a downward spiral.

Next week, Cardiff face Edinburgh in the quarter final of the Celtic Cup. Count the Cardiff supporters in the crowd. Why bother to travel to support your team when they turn in such terrible performances? Edinburgh began this season with only 22 professionals in their squad of 33 and the average age of the squad is under 23. Cardiff should walk the game. Will they? More crucially, does the club care whether they do or not? After all, they’ll have a good crowd at CAP watching the Rags play Pooler and some tasty bar takings after the game when the die hards watch the game in the club house.

Looking at the fixture list, given the present run of form, it’s difficult to see Cardiff winning anything until the crucial game against Ruddock’s team on November 7th. Loose that, and the kids will be playing in the Mickey Mouse Parker Pen next season and you can forget about attracting ANY class players to play at CAP.

Cardiff RFC – “The Greatest” – not at this rate.

Give Youth a Chance

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Dear Rudy,

A Happy New Year to you!

New Year is traditionally a time for New Year’s resolutions, so here’s some ideas for you when you draw up your list for 2002.

When you arrived at Cardiff Arms Park you inherited a poorly coached and poorly motivated squad, riddled with serious injuries to important players and faced with a fixture list that allowed little time for preparation.

Pre-season, you promised us an open style of rugby with youth given a free hand and a low penalty count in every game we play.

At present our open style is based more on the limitations of the outside half – he can’t read a game and just shovels all sort of bad ball onwards. In league, this may be acceptable, but he’s still way off the mark in ensuring victory for the team. Would we have lost in Glasgow and drawn at Bridgend if Jinx had been playing?

As for giving youth a chance, sadly so far this season has been one of missed opportunities.

Our back row injuries should have been a signal for Dan MacShane to play more games for the first XV, or even Luke Tait to get a chance. However, journeymen like Mounier and Appleyard have been preferred. Whilst Appleyard’s commitment has been admirable, he’s about as effective as a chocolate teapot at openside and the progress of Sowden-Taylor has been stifled. Greg Woods is another who needs to get more games under his belt. Why not give the youngsters 20 minutes at least?

Turning to the backs, we have an excellent player in Owain Ashman who is also not getting first XV games. He is surely a better player than Henry jnr and represents the future of the club. Furthermore, Allen in the centre is so inconsistent – when will we see the Robinson brothers in tandem?

Cardiff fans have been excited by the emergence of these youngsters yet they have not been seen. Other youngsters lie waiting in the wings, yet we plead with you to give Ashman and Sowden-Taylor their chance.

Turning to the question of penalty count, there is clearly so much more to do at the club. Whilst the standard of refereeing week in week out in the Village League is no better than frustrating, players’ discipline is poor. We are giving too many unnecessary penalties away. Furthermore, unforced errors due a lack of concentration are costing us points.

Complacency is clearly our biggest threat and the signs are already there of players getting picked “automatically” and not being forced to play for their places. The basic skills in the back line – passing and kicking – are still dreadfully poor, and this surely reflects on a sloppy approach and poor discipline in training.

Whilst the squad is not yours and you have undoubtedly inherited the complacency of previous seasons, you’ve also inherited a classy squad with a good mix of youth and experience.

Please make the following resolutions for 2002 …

1. Discipline – players must not give away meaningless penalties and possession through sloppy play.

2. Increased competition – nobody gets picked on reputation …. they have to earn the right to wear the jersey.

3. Youth – give youth a chance!

4. Away wins – some of us follow the club all over Europe ….. we put in the effort away from home and we expect your players to do the same!

Dai Young – A tribute

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This month saw the retirement from International rugby of one of the greatest scrummaging tight heads that the game has seen.

David Young has enjoyed a wonderful international career since making his International debut in the 1987 World Cup quarter-final against the Old Enemy England but the woeful performance of his team mates against Argentina this month led him to resign from the Welsh captaincy and the International game.

His leadership skills were always evident as he captained every team he played in from Wales at under 15 level through to the midweek 2001 Lions, which were known as Dai’s driftwoods. Graham Henry’s tribute was “… he is by nature a leader and a captain, a role he has played with every team he has been involved with throughout his life.”

Young first joined Cardiff RFC in 1988 and made 33 appearances for the Blue Blacks in the next two seasons.

He won 14 Union caps for Wales before, in January 1990, signing for Leeds RLFC in a £165,000 deal. He stayed in Rugby League for 6 seasons, winning 13 Welsh Rugby League caps in his time. He returned to Cardiff RFC in December 1996.

He is the only man to tour with the British Lions in three separate decades, first touring Australia in 1989 as part of a triumphant squad.

He has played over 100 games for the club and his 50 caps for Wales makes him the most-capped prop ahead of Graham Price (41).

David is club captain for a fourth successive year, emulating the feat of John Scott 20 years ago.

The time span of Young’s career is highlighted by the now Welsh team Manager Alan Phillips, who was a former playing colleague of Young and packed down at hooker in that World Cup Quarter Final against England. Phillips said: “It is sad to see a great international career come to an end, but what is pleasing is that David was ready to make the decision himself.”

In trying to explain his departure, Young said it had been a difficult decision, because playing for Wales meant so much to him. “But in the wake of recent results I felt this was a decision I had to make,” he said.

At 34 years of age, Young seemingly wilted under the intense spotlight that captaincy brings and he has admitted that he thought about quitting after the defeat by Ireland last month, but played on hoping that the team’s form would improve against Argentina.

He said: “I had considered retiring after the Irish game, but decided to carry on to try to put things right. The intense criticism that has followed our two recent defeats, allied to the high expectation that always goes with playing for Wales weighs heavily not just on me, but also my family. For too long, my family have come second to rugby in my life. Now is the time for them to be put firmly first.”

It is a shame that his International career could not be ended on a happier note.

Fact File:
1967 Born Aberdare, Mid Glamorgan, July 26
1987 After limited senior rugby experience with Swansea, plays in Wales’ quarter-final victory over England in Australia
1987 Scored his only Test-match try during Wales’ 46-0 victory over the US in Cardiff
1988 Five Nations debut in Wales’ 11-3 success against England at Twickenham – played all three games of Triple Crown success.
1989 Toured Australia with the 1989 British Lions, starting all three Tests.
1990 Turned professional by agreeing a £165,000 deal with Leeds RLFC.
1995 Wales XIII reach World Cup semi-finals and are crowned European champions.
1996 Switched back to union, joining Cardiff and reclaiming his Wales place for the 28-19 defeat by Australia.
1997 Selected for his second Lions tour, this time to South Africa, making four starts, but none in the Test side.
1999 Featured in his second rugby union World Cup, 12 years after the first, as Wales reached the quarter-finals, bowing out to Australia.
2000 Appointed as Wales captain, replacing his Cardiff team-mate Rob Howley.
2000 Overtakes Graham Price as Wales’ most-capped prop when he makes his 42nd Test appearance against England at Twickenham.
2001 Picked for a third Lions tour, filling the role of midweek captain during the 10-match trip to Australia.
2001 October – Becomes the 14th player to win 50 Welsh caps – Young’s sons are the match mascots – but Wales suffer a record 36-6 defeat against Ireland.
2001 November – Argentina beat Wales 30-16 in Cardiff. Young announces his retirement from international rugby just 48 hours later.

Cardiff’s new coach

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We took a look at our leading candidates.

Brad Johnstone

Born Auckland, NZ, 30 July 1950

Brad Johnson is now coach of the Italian national team. The greatest achievement to date for the man with Scottish ancestrywas leading the Italians to a famous win over the Scots in January 2000.

But his first success as a national coach came in the 1999 World Cup where he was heralded by many as “Coach of the Tournament“.

Flamboyant, yet down to earth, ex-prop Johnstone played 13 games for the All Blacks, including four as captain, between 1976 and 1979. He has coached at club level in Australia and Italy before taking up his first national coaching role with Fiji’s in 1994. There, he successfully transferred Fiji’s success in sevens to the 15-a-side game. In the 1999 World Cup, he led Fiji to a 38-22 win over Canada, a 67-18 destruction of Namibia and a narrow 28-19 loss to France. His team eventually lost 45-24 to England in the quarter finals. Famous for a hard nosed attitude, he turned a Fijian team renowned for ill-disicpline into a group with an excellent work ethic.

“Retiring” from his role with Fiji after the World Cup he tried to get a Super-12 coaching post or even the NZ national post before moving to Italy. There, he joined a team who had done substantially worse than Fiji during the World Cup losing all three games in the 1999 tournament – New Zealand (lost 3-101); Tonga (lost 25-28); England (lost 7-67). Fijian players had nothing but good things to say about him when he left for Rome.

He spent five years mouding Fiji into a competitive team and is now planning the same period of time for the Italians. However, Johnstone‘s contract is up at the end of this year though the rumours are that he will get a new contract.

Struggling with a rich union in Italy who won’t put the funds in to support him, he’s far from contented in his present role. The Italian Federation has also vetoed Johnstone’s efforts to recruit players with Italian grandmothers from France and NZ.

He has worked with a huge pool of players at Italy’s Six Nations training ground at a village on the Tuscan coast near Livorno and has imposed a discipline which was sadly lacking in 1999.

beating Scotland 34-20 in Rome in January 2000. Last year, the Azzuri put up a decent performance against the All Blacks in November only losing 56-19.

Pros: Forceful charismatic figure that Cardiff need to instill discipline into the squad. Excellent forward coach.
Cons: Another with a reputation for upsetting those in authority. Would the Cardiff job be a step down from his present role?
Verdict: Another with excellent credentials. Vast experience and hard nosed attitude is what we need. Contract with the Italian Federation may be a stumbling block.

 

Ian McIntosh

English-speaking non-Springbok Ian McIntosh was born 61 year ago in what was then Rhodesia. He started his playing career in Rhodesia where injuries at an early age saw him turn to coaching.

Between 1986 and 1999, McIntosh coached Natal for nearly 300 games. They were always “also rans” in SA, but he took them team from the “B” section to their first Currie Cup Championship in 100 years. In all, he led them to four Currie Cup Championships.

One of McIntosh’s great strengths is his ability to develop players and in his time in charge of Natal (when Wayne Fyvie was captain), he coached Gary Teichmann, Adrian Garvey, Andy Marinos, Shaune Payne and Pieter Muller. He soon developed a reputation for turning the ordinary into something more.

He also coached the Springbok teams between 1993 and 1994, but was fired by former Sarfu president Louis Luyt after the 1994 tour of New Zealand when SA lost the series to the All Blacks.

Highly regarded as one of the world’s most astute and motivational rugby coaches this man embodies the dedication, and passion required to win in today’s highly competitive world. His straight talking “shoot from the hip” approach and extremely down to earth personality won him more than a few enemies in his time, but leaves him well-equiped for life in the village. He is renown for his analytical thinking, fierce motivation and thoroughly professional approach – established well before the days of official rugby professionalism.

A vastly experienced coach – 18 years at Currie Cup level and nearly 40 in all with various clubs – Rod Macqueen has said of him that ‘ … he wears his heart on his sleeve. He lives and dies for the team.’

However, some have accused him of dull rugby with his teams grinding their way through at forwards rather than using backline flair – from entertaining to watch. He prefer to call his style “direct rugby”.

Although McIntosh, who is currently in Zimbabwe, officially retired as Natal coach two years ago, in March of this year, the South Africa Rugby Football Union (Sarfu) appointed him as technical adviser to the Springbok sevens squad.

Described by our good friends at Rodney Parade as “one of the world’s leading coaches ……. with a world-renowned reputation as a motivator” he’s good friends with Gary Teichmann – once describing the dropping of Teichmann as “shabby treatment” (by that other coach mentioned as a possible replacement for Yoda, Nick Mallett).

He is so passionate about rugby it makes him ill.”

Pros: Vast experience, motivational skills and the ability to develop ordinary players into something more
Cons: Possible lack of ambition – having done it all before – and a forward orientated style that might not suite all the purists at CAP
Verdict: In the mould of Alec Evans, could be the man to transform Cardiff’s players into true professionals.

 

Mike Brewer

Born: 06 November 1964, Pukekohe, NZ

Michael Robert Brewer – nicknamed ‘Bruiser’ – is coach of Italian club team L’Aquila. During last summer the club handed over – for a seven year period – the technical and commercial management of the first & second XV and U21 to a new company, Com.Sport chaired by the 32 times capped All Black. Italian, New Zealander, US and British backers fund L’Aquila. A career as a sports marketing manager in New Zealand gives him the business background.

One of Brewer’s deals includes a contract with the Italian Pay TV channel Stream for the broadcasting of the club’s games. In short, Brewer is very much a “Director of Rugby” which matches the position Cardiff have vacant.

His previous coaching experience was in Blackrock in Dublin and West Hartlepool (for whom he played 30 times). Whilst player-coach at Blackrock, he went on to help with the coaching of the Irish national team.

Captain of New Zealand under Laurie Mains, Brewer led L’Aquila to their first game in Europe – a 92-7 rout at Stade Français.

He joined West Hartlepool as Director of Rugby in 1997, where he played with ex-Cardiff bois Mark Ring (who he took over from as coach), Matt Silva, Chris John and yes, ol’ Teflon hands himself, Gerald Cordle.

Playing in front of crowds of up to only 2,000, he was at West Hartlepool when the club were forced to sell their ground and enter into a groundshare with the local football team – Victoria Park, the home of Hartlepool FC.

Brewer was sent off in the rebel season against Swansea for showing decent to Alan Ware – good friend of Uncle Peter!

He has taken his no-nonsense playing reputation into coaching, highlighted by his decision to sack prop Virgil Hartland for allegedly biting an opponent and todrop his leading import, the outside-half Steven Vile, for not tackling (look out Jinx!).

Pros: Top class playing experience.
Cons: Junior level coaching only. Unproven track record at a major club.
Verdict: With Mallett’s eyes firmly on Super 12 coaching, Brewer seems the most likely to want to move to Cardiff of the four.

 

 

Nick Mallett

Born: Haileybury, Hertfordshire, England, 30 October 1956

During his playing days, Nick Mallet was a abrasive No 8 for Western Province. He was more of a physical than a cerebral forward. He won two caps for South Africa in October 1984. But it wasn’t just South Africa where he played rugby. He won rugby and cricket Blues at Oxford before going on to play and coach for almost eight years in France. There, and in South Africa, he worked wonders with ailing or lower-division sides. Fluent in French, he also played rugby in Italy where he quickly earned a reputation for a dogged approach to the game and the necessity of plenty of blood sweat and tears.

Famously ending his playing days with a two-fingered salute to the national selectors after being dropped, brushes with authority have always dogged his rugby career. Likewise, he has also demonstrated an unwillingness to suffer those he considers fools – so watch out the WRUin if he gets anywhere near Wales.

When he took over from Kitch Christie as coach of South Africa, he brought some radical ideas to SA rugby based on running the ball at speed, rather than the forward based pattern of previous years. During his time as national coach, he led the Boks to17 consecutive wins . But last summer South Africa seemed to implode. Injuries to several key players opened the gates for New Zealand and Australia to inflict record defeats. And he has reacted to political criticism with confrontational language. Even so, his overall record of 27 wins from 38 games is no mean achievement.

Following a run of defeats in the Tri-Nations, Mallet was forced to resign in September, 2000 during the first day of hearings into a charge of misconduct brought against him by the South African Rugby Football Union (SARFU). Mallett was charged with misconduct after he criticized high ticket prices for the Test match against the Wallabies and said administrators were “greedy”. This was the excuse that SARFU needed to call for his resignation.

Famously dropping Gary Teichmann as national captain in July 1999, he inadvertently instigated the recruitment of the ex-captain by Newport’s millionaire backer Tony Brown. He was also responsible for bringing Pieter Muller’s Springbok career to an end.

Following a healthy pay off from SARFU, Mallett’s not short of a fiver and he now supplement his income by writing in the press and for Planet Rugby. Having enjoyed a golfing sabbatical since last September, is the man now looking for a job for next season?

Since then, he’s been touted for numerous coaching positions – including EnglandHarlequins and France – so seeing his name associated with Cardiff should come as no surprise.

Pros: Charismatic, energetic, enthusiastic. Advocate of free-running, total rugby. Not averse to some radical views on the game – such as the introduction of 2 referees. It has been said that “he was seen as too strong-minded and powerful by some within the [SARFU,” so unlikely to be afraid of putting Cardiff first. “Neil Jenkins has an aversion to contact” – maybe he’ll teach him to tackle.
Cons: May be looking for a National Coaching job or may be content to work on his golf handicap. The Village League may be too small a platform for the man who coached the World Champions.
Verdict: Would be brilliant for the club, but would Uncle Peter give him enough freedom? Our favourite Uncle claims that the man he’s after is on a free contract – could Mallett be the man?

 

Rudy Joubert

Rudy Joubert – he of the Nicholas Cage looks – has signed a contract to become Cardiff’s Director of Rugby for the next two years. Describing the opportunity as “unbelievable” (a clear euphemism for “what a huge wad!”), he’s obviously been fully primed by Uncle Peter that winning the European Cup is still the number one priority for the club. He will start with Cardiff on July 15th.

There is a clause in his contract which says that if he is offered the Bok job within the next two years he is free to leave. With Harry Viljoen far from secure at the moment, this is far from an unlikely turn of events for the highly rated Joubert.

He played scrum half and fly half at school but moved to centre or wing with Tukkies before his career was cut short by injury. He then took over Pretoria University’s under-19s and won the league for five successive years before taking over the senior side and again winning championships to bring him to the notice of Kitch Christie.

He linked up with Christie at Transvaal in 1992 when Joubert was made director of coaching. He went on to take up an assistant coaching roll to Christie at the 1995 World Cup. In March 1997 he was appointed SARFU’s director of coaching and is the author of several South African rugby coaching manuals.

Joubert coached Namibia in the 1999 World Cup where he was a last minute stand in when his predecessor – Johan Venter – was sacked at the last minute. Whilst coaching Namibia, his wages were paid for by SARFU. Namibia are basically an amateur rugby playing nation.

Joubert was appointed as coach of the Boland Kavaliers following his time with the Namibian national team. He soon took them from nowhere to the Final of the Vodafone Cup where they lost to the Joost’s Northern Blue Bulls in mid May.

Joubert – described as “one of the more successful coaches in SA” – coached the SA U-23 which is playing against Namibia and Zimbabwe in the African Rugby Confederation Cup. Joubert coaches Boland in the Currie Cup competition – the feeder competition for the Super 12 teams. The Boland Kavaliers are basically an amateur team who feed the Stormers.

He had been tipped by many to take over from Laurie Mains as coach of the Cats in the next Super 12 season and was also mentioned as a future coach of the Stormers. He had a contract with Boland until 2003 – so no doubt compensation will have to be paid to the club. Has degree in theology.

Pros: International experience, a developer of players, ambitious, a “winner”
Cons: Untried at a professional club – our weakness is at forward not in the backs.
Verdict: A man out to prove himself – he’s in for a shock of what’s in store!

 

No respect

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So Wales’ World Cup dream has finally come to a crushing end. The squad gave their best, but were beaten by clearly the better team. It was a shame that refereeing decisions marred such a big occasion. Though we’ve mentioned the woeful standard of domestic referees on this page before, it was disappointing to see a global fall in standards.

Now that the World Cup’s over for Wales, we’re now all aching to see Cardiff’s first XV bannish the memories of Stradey and turn on some real rugby prior to the start of the European campaign.

On the team that has fought its way to only four points behind the present league leaders (who still have to play us in two four pointers, home and away), players likeSteve Williams and Paul Burke have done us proud in the absense of so many first team players.

It was very disappointing to see that despite Owain Williams appalling lack of respect for the punters who pay his wages, his obscene jesture to a fan at Caerphilly went unpunished. This comes as little suprise though, and it was rediculous – but wholely predictable – that Robert Norster and other back room faceless individuals have done nothing to fine or suspend Mr Williams. Such indiscipline and arrogance will store up trouble for future amateur performances.

We are disappointed with your lack of respect for the fans.

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