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Currie Cup All-Time XV
October 26, 2012, 00:16:12

Currie Cup All-Time XV

Article By: Paul Dobson
Thu, 25 Oct 2012 10:48 AM

Recently I received a brief to choose my best Currie Cup side of all time. It is a fun thing to do and there are klippe in bosse enough to cause debate.

There probably is bias but it seems that a national coach may not always be without bias.

There will be more from Western Province because they have done better than all the rest.

I have given a list of those I see as candidates in each position and then made my choice. I have seen 13 of my 15 in action on the field. For the other two I have relied on the insistent voice of history, especially that of Oubaas Markötter.

I have set out to choose my best Currie Cup XV - not a team of Springbok all-stars and so there may be some raised eyebrows. I have given brief reasons for my choice, and heavens they are hard choices!

Oddly enough, it's harder for the modern star to get into a Currie Cup All-Star team because they do not play Currie Cup matches as often with the same impact.


:  Gerrie Brand, HO de Villiers, Johan Heunis, Gysie Pienaar, André Joubert

My choice: HO de Villiers, who changed the way the world played fullback - the swashbuckling, adventurous, skilled, strong, recklessly brave hero of the rugby field. People went to Newlands just to see HO play.


Bob Loubser, DO Williams, Otto van Niekerk, Jannie Engelbrecht, Ray Mordt, Agie Koch, Hermanus Potgieter, Tony Watson, Chester Williams

My choice: Agie Koch - so strong so fast, swerving stepping and doing it both ways. I once sat with several of his team-mated at the airport in Kimberley, picking out 'best-ever team' and they were unanimous that the best-ever wing of that time was Agie Koch who never did become a Springbok.


In days not long ago, centres played left and right, not inside and outside. We have tried to accommodate the past to the present.

Stars: Japie Krige, Louis Babrow, John Gainsford, Ian Kirkpatrick, Peter Whipp, Danie Gerber, Michael du Plessis, Jaque Fourie

My choice: John Gainsford and Michael du Plessis

It's heartrending not to choose Danie Gerber but in fact John Gainsford, big and forceful, captain of Western Province when they won the Currie Cup had a bigger impact than an impact-full player in a team with little impact on the Currie Cup, not even a single final/. And then we have picked a clever man on Gainsford's inside - a tough genius of great skill, strength and speed.


: Freddie Turner, electric Billy Anderson, Mannetjies Roux, Gerrie Germishuys, Carel du Plessis, Breyton Paulse, Bryan Habana

My choice: the smooth, gliding Carel du Plessis, dabbing the ball down for a try.


Bennie Osler, Hansie Brewis, Piet Visagie, who broke from a scrum and ran 40 yards to score a try against the All Blacks, Naas Botha, Henry Honiball

My choice: Naas Botha. The Currie Cup is there to be won and Naas was a winner. Just remember that day in the rain and hail at Ellis Park. Transvaal scored two tries, Northern Transvaal none but Naas, probably the best wet-weather player ever, kicked four penalties and four drops for 24 points. Naas could do it all - ran faster, catch and p[removed] better and kick with length and accuracy. I'll be he could tackle, too, if he needed to.


 Pierre de Villiers, Danie Craven, Dawie de Villiers, Piet Uys, Divan Serfontein Joost van der Westhuizen, Fourie du Preez

My choice: Divan Serfontein who made such a wondrous contribution in Western Province's five in a row - alert, dedicated, speedy and a leader.


André Macdonald, Hennie Muller, Doug Hopwood, Morné du Plessis, Gary Teichmann

My choice: Gary Teichmann - the honourable  man who ushered in Natal's era of glory after playing wallflowers for so long.


There was less talk in the past about openside and blindside, 6 and 7. I have just nominated flanks and picked two.

Stars: Stephen Fry, Basie van Wyk, Hugo van Zyl, Martin Pelser, Jan Ellis, Thys Lourens, Piet Greyling, Jan Boland Coetzee, Burger Geldenhuys,  Theuns Stofberg, Rob Louw, Ruben Kruger, André Venter, Juan Smith

My choice:  Theuns Stofberg and Thys Lourens.

When Stofberg played for the Free State, they won the Currie Cup, and the same goes for the Northern Transvaal and Western Province. Thys Lourens captained Northern Transvaal in the era of their greatness, forming a triumvirate with Naas and Buurman van Zyl., a man who never gave less than his very best.


Phil Nel, Mauritz van den Bergh with one leg shorter than the other, Johan Cla[removed]en, Salty du Rand, Jan Pickard, Avril Malan, Frik du Preez, Moaner van Heerden, John Williams, Louis Moolman, Kevin de Klerk, Mark Andrews, Victor Matfield.

My choice: Frik du Preez and Jan Pickard.

Frik, the all-round genius wat gedrop, geplace en gescore het and Jan Pickard who had a m[removed]ive impact on the Currie Cup, first as brave player and great leader and then as a president who wanted above all, the Currie Cup for his union.


 Barry Heatlie,  Phil Mostert, Boy Louw, Chris Koch, Jaap Bekker, Mof Myburgh, Piet du Toit, Frans Erasmus, Henning van Aswegen, Os du Randt

My choice: Barry Heatlie and Boy Louw.

I did not see either of them play but Markötter believed that Heatlie - 'I played with him and against him,' - was the best all-round forward South Africa ever produced, still the youngest Springbok forward of all time. He played in 28 Currie Cup matches for Western Province between 1892 and 1904 and his side won every single one and won the Currie Cup every time.

Nobody played for Western Province with a greater p[removed]ion than Boy Louw. Rugby was his life and most of that rugby was for Western Province as player, coach, selector and motivator. He could also play in any position in the scrum.


 Jan Lotz, Abie Malan, Gys Pitzer, Piston van Wyk, Uli Schmidt, John Smit, Bismarck du Plessis

The nature of the position has changed. They are still called hookers but do not hook as they did in olden times, trying to get the opponents' ball.

My choice: Jan Lotz who played for Transvaal on both sides of World War II, a rugged man who was a hooker and much more than a hooker.

My All-Star Currie Cup team

15 HO de Villiers
14 Agie Koch
13 John Gainsford
12 Michael du Plessis
11 Carel du Plessis
10 Naas Botha
9 Divan Serfontein
8 Gary Teichmann
7 Theuns Stofberg
6 Thys Lourens
5 Frik du Preez
4 Jan Pickard
3 Boy Louw
2 Jan Lotz
1 Barry Heatlie


Status: Senior player
Posts: 3552
RE: Currie Cup All-Time XV
October 26, 2012, 00:17:45

 It is interesting that the centres of long ago are so much better than what we have since the advent of professionalism. Now days the bok backline play is not what it was in the amateur era, instead we have some gym creatine beasts with a serious lack of skill


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RE: Currie Cup All-Time XV
October 26, 2012, 02:54:36

Some of these players played so long ago that no living person ever saw them playing.   Interesting enough some of the descendents of the players are today playing and in this regard I wish to refer to Francois Louw - a grandson of Jan Pickard - and Pieter-Steph Du Toit - grandson of Piet Du Toit.

I can vaguely remember when as a small boy my father took me and my brother to Newlands to see games being played.   My father was so impressed by Ferdie Bergh - a winger not named above - that he gave my elder brother the name Ferdie.    I can remember the last game Chris Koch played for the Springboks - and how he virtually cost the Springboks the game.  

One of the greatest displays I ever saw was at Loftus Versveld by Jannie Engelbrecht in the Curry Cup final when he ran from his own 22 to score two tries for WP -  all that with a broken collar bone which was injured early in the game.   Jannie Engelbrecht was in the team touring New Zealand and he was so good that a Maori family named their son after him.   At that time he was regarded as the best wing in the world.   He went on to fund the boys education in New Zealand - and when he went to New Zealand as Springbok coach more than 30 years later - made speial arrangements to meet with the son and his family. 

Also was at Loftus Versveld the day Frik ik Du Preez dropped,  successfully kicked at goal and scored a try.   His lock partner in the Springbok team was Tiny Naude - who converted a penalty kick from 5 meters outside his own 22 - the longest penalty conversion I have ever seen in my life. 

Michael Du Plessis - the elder brother of Carel Du Plessis - was one of the dirtiest players I have ever seen playing.   At a CC final at Newlands - Michael scored a try and when the Northern Transvaal player fell on him afterwards, he took his head in his hand and crashed his face into his knee.   Those days it was a tough life out there - no penalty and no send-off.  

Let me just go further - Sharkbok - In the 1950's and 60's the team with the best attacking capacity in the backline in the world was the Springboks.   Although they mentioned Mannetjies Roux as a wing - the games I saw him playing in he always played at center.   In CC competitions WP had the real stars in backline play

What went wrong was the fact that the concept of forward dominated play and kicking took over in the late 1970's - in essence played by the the Northern Transvaal team - basically when Naas Botha started playing for them which let to the deterioration of backline play.   We have had some good backline players since that time - but as a whole backline performances have been disappointing and the problem was never really dealt with on a constructive basis     That is why you will find no backline players playing since 1992 in the choices mentioned above.   

When he coached Carel Du Plessis tried to introduce changes in approach and laid the foundation for attacking backline play to start again - the players did not react initially to the new approach and a few tests were lost.   However, after that the winning record of 17 tests won in a row started under Du Plessis and was followed up by Mallett who essentially kept the backline players selected by Du Plessis in the team.   However. Mallett was clueless about backline play and he had Alec Solomons as backline coach - the famous EP coach of today.   Mallett  had to start replacing players and he got lost in the process.  Affter Mallett the decline set in again - slightly arrested in 2007 - when White brought Eddie Jones on Board -  and then  became faster and faster again.

The problem was that skills in ball handling and backline play was ignored and force became the norm.  In previous eras - the idea was to have skilful (clever)  players that could outwit the opposition - not quasi-forwards that could do nothing else but try to run over them.    That is why I prefer players like Goosen, Lambie, Jordaan and Habana as backline players ahead of some others like Frnacois Steyn, Engelbrecht and Taute.    Initially I also regarded Jean De Villiers as a clever player - but he deteriorated over the past few years (maybe because of coaching neglect) to a level where he is not highly-rated.   Francois Steyn also showed signs of clever play earlier - but also showed serious decline since his initial entry into top level rugby.

The present clueless backline coaching destroys our players and leads to a form of rugby where people nowadays believe in  domination up front and the rest would follow automatically.   This kind of believe found their embodiment in admiration for the type of play of Morne Steyn - a player that prior to the 1980's would have been destined to club rugby.    That is the rubbish we got accustomed  to.   

I think the sooner we get away from the idea of 10 men rugby and return to a comprehensive game plan with 15 man - rugby, the better it would be for SA Rugby.     Meyer is showing signs that he wants to change - but he needs desperately a decent backline and attack coach to make it possible.


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Posts: 1464
RE: Currie Cup All-Time XV
October 26, 2012, 08:04:26

Ohho Haaaa Well said Mike!!


Status: Bok regular
Posts: 1396
RE: Currie Cup All-Time XV
October 26, 2012, 09:13:48

if one has a look at the backline players that sharkbok makes mention of its easy to see the difference is era's.....i dont see a lot of modern era rugby players in there to be honest so that in itself also embodies the points that mike also made mention of...


this biggest problem is the relevant game patterns that the respective unions are playing that is the real problem. the schools and clubs generally play more dynamicly but the real problem lays with the capstone of rugby in south africa and there is where we need greater input from more technically minded people. loubscher and co are way out of there depth and its not by fault of there own but one cant carry them. the likes of spencer carel du plessis danie gerber ext have the skillset to change our backline players around but they need to form part of a general attack plan.


new attacking coach and a skills coach will make a m[removed]ive difference....not some douche like van graan that is a forward coach now suddenly got upgraded to a attacking role....the only thing he can attack is a bottle of brandy by the looks of it..



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