What is your earliest memory of your first rugby game that you watched and who was your childhood hero?

Forum » Rugby » What is your earliest memory of your first rugby game that you watched and who was your childhood hero?

Nov 15, 2022, 20:39

I've been getting a lot of old footage of past rugby players and finally gotten to know why SA supporters always believed we were the best team in the world and why they think we should be today had it not been for continuous interference from politicians and or rugby administrators. 

Which player captivated you when you watched your first game of rugby that made you a lover of the game today?

Nov 15, 2022, 20:56

As a centre, it was Australia that really inspired me. Tim Horan, Jason Little, Daniel Herbert. Big, big names. 

Nov 15, 2022, 20:58

First big game I watched that made an impression on me was the 1980 British Lions vs EP

Hero was Ray Mordt - I used to be on the wing in those days

Nov 15, 2022, 20:58

Early 80's WP dream team...combined with the Northern Transvaal rivalry...Dup Brothers, John Villet, Morne, Nick, Gert, Rob Lowe, Divan, Etzebeth's uncle...Neil Burger. Calla Scholtz...impossible to single out a few...not to mention the Bulls players of the day...Mort, Heunis, Naas, Moolman, Vuilgat Geldenhuys....no wonder we trashed the Kaveliers...

Nov 15, 2022, 21:17

No Naas Botha fans here then? 

I remember the 1986 NZ Cavaliers, the whole school was buzzing about Naas run in try. He was always mocked for his kicking and non confrontational style of play. 

I also got teased that I looked like Naas with my blond hair and my new big front teeth coming through. Can't say he was my hero. 

Probably the 1995 World Cup players like Joost, James Small, Joel Stransky. 

Os became my hero later on after watching him carry an entire ausie team on his back on his way to scoring a try. That guy had pace and skill for a big unit but Father Time caught up with his knees. Then, he starred again in the 2007 World Cup and played the entire final. Never came off. Can't see Ox or Trrreeevvva play an entire game like that oak. 

But never got to know the players in the 80s. Never watched rugby that much. Found it really boring watching the Currie Cup, but really start enjoying watching it once we were allowed to play test rugby again. Andrew Joubert comes to mind, loved watching this guy. Also watched a lot of highlight reals of Danie Gerber and learned about Doc Craven. 

But watching those players from the 80s and listening to Morne Du Plesis and watching that team from the 80s, it was insane how good they were. Mannetjies Roux, all them were pretty much the same size of todays players and super quick and skilful. 

I hate the fact that we are only known for being physical, but when you watch those all Currie Cup games and the few bok test matches, we had a lot of skill and great off loading in contact. 

Rassie has turned us into thugs 

Nov 15, 2022, 21:52

Naas was a class act. Brilliant rugby brain with an amazing boot on him. Was also great at getting his outside backs away and pretty handy at making the odd break himself

He was a softie though - was not keen on contact

Danie Gerber was another obvious favourite of mine

Nov 16, 2022, 04:53

The best South African player I have seen was Danie Gerber.

I cringed every time he got the bloody ball against the AB's. 

I would put him down as the best ever in the position. 

Nov 16, 2022, 04:54

He used to piss me off.

But piss me off because he was such a wonderful player in the opposition.

Nov 16, 2022, 07:49

Divan Serfontein, Naas, Carel Dup, Michael Dup, Danie Gerber, Mort, Johan Heunis....probably the best Bok backline ever...not individuals,  but as a unit.

Nov 16, 2022, 09:05

First rugby game I ever attended was Transvaal vs the British Lions in 1974 when I was 12,

My Dad's cousin had come out from Wales for the tour and we went with a bunch of the travelling Lions supporters, all supporting the British Lions with only my brother and I occasionally having the temerity to shout for Transvaal. The Lions clobbered Transvaal that day, just as they smashed every team they played on that tour until the "draw" in the 4th test at Ellis Park when they were robbed blind by a ref called Max Baise.

I was already a Springbok supporter back then even though the rest of my family were all supporting the Lions and my Springbok heroes were Boland Coetzee, Jan Ellis and Chris Pope. That said, I really admired those Lions and I still regard them as the greatest side to ever visit these shores, marginally ahead of the 1996 All Blacks. 

My heroes in that British Lions squad were mainly the Welsh players who formed the spine of that great team. . . like  JPR Williams, Gareth Edwards, Phil Bennett, Mervyn Davies, Bobby Windsor and JJ Williams . . . but I was also a huge fan of the Irish flanker Fergus Slattery.

Never got to go to any of the tests in that series but that game vs Transvaal made a big impression on me and I've had a soft spot for the British Lions ever since.

Nov 16, 2022, 10:31

My first memory of being taken to a game was at Rugby Park in Hamilton, my home town. Waikato we’re playing their annual fixture against the dreaded Auckland on Queen’s Birthday weekend in early June. My hero was Don Clarke, the great AB fullback who played that day. I remember my Dad saying how far he could punt that leather ball and to watch him closely. DB at one stage put up a mighty up and under on half way. We were up the back of the stand and the ball went that high that it disappeared from view. Seemed to take an age for it to reappear but I’ve never forgotten that kick!

Nov 16, 2022, 13:44

Well, Danie Gerber defended Naas and said he was a genius, who should he put himself in a position where he could get hurt. Based on some archive footage, I think he is right up there as one of the greatest fly halves. It was also a different era that they played in. No kicking tees, heavy, slippery leather balls. Pitches were not as great as they are today. 

So would love to see how Wilkinson and Carter would have faired under similar conditions. 

I do rate Carter as the greatest every Flyhalf. 

But with a boot like Naas that could just kick drop goals for fun. We saw what Jannie De Beer did against England with 5 drop goals in the quarters. 

Poor old Clive just said how do you defend against that. 15 points behind. Then we had Frans Steyn playing on the wing and slotting two drop goals for long kick returns against Australia at Newlands which the boks won by 1 point in the end. 

So a player that can drop kick like that is worth his wait in gold in my mind and gives you striking options. 

I actually wished we can see more drop goals now. 

Nov 16, 2022, 13:49

moola, I think the first All Black players that impressed must have been ZinZan Brooke, just watched him take the ball at 8 from the base of the scrum and then slot a 50m drop goal. I think he was unsuccessful, but came very close. 

I also enjoyed watching Franc Buns, really low centre of gravity. Jeff Willson and especially Cullen. Then there was the Carlos Spencer Craziness in SA but almost too good to actually help teams win when it was tight. 

I really enjoy listening Murrey Mexted, great commentator but hate listening to Jeff Wilson and Marshal. Probably the two most annoying people on the planet. 

Then, I grown to enjoy Sean Fitzpatrick, as a player he was a bit of a moaner and always in the refs ear, But as the years have gone on he has been a true ambassador for rugby values and the friendships off the field. 

I can't stand Brian O'Driscol, one of the most entitled players on the planet and most annoying voice. 

But Keith Wood was another favourite of mine to watch for Ireland. 

Nov 16, 2022, 21:08

Kingcorn, I meant to mention that Danie Gerber is the best centre I’ve ever seen so another favourite player of mine. Agree about Marshall. His commentating drives me nuts! O’Driscoll was so over-rated IMO and couldn’t hold a candle to Gerber, Bunce, Stanley etc. He’ll principally be remembered for the whinging he did (and still does!) about being dropped on his shoulder by Tana Umaga and Keven Mealamu on the 2005 Lions Tour!

Nov 16, 2022, 21:30

The best centres were Mortlock, Horan, Little, Herbert. Fourie was much like an Aussie in the way he cut the line, our only great all-round 13 of that caliber. The first South African I felt had that game-altering star quality was Joost. He was one of those few Boks that I felt we needed, who could do something special, the way I feared Mortlock would for Australia. Habana was the next of that breed of player. 

Nov 16, 2022, 21:33

A friend of mine played wing for Boland against the mid week touring Allblacks...ZinZan was playing in his first tour of SA...long before he was a starter for the test side...Breyten Paulse was on debut for Boland in that same match...saw some home video footage of that match...my buddy managed to tackle ZZ:D...hard.:D

Nov 16, 2022, 22:46

WP vs Nothern Transval Currie cup final 1983, 84 or 85...cant remember who won...in 1983 Gerrie Coetzee also beat Michael Dokes, for WBA Heavyweight Boxing Title....watched both of those matches with my dad.....my Favourite players from those years was Ulli Scmidt, Danie Gerber, Carel Du Plessis, Hempies du Toit, Morne' du Plessis, Niel Burger and Tiaan Strauss.

Nov 17, 2022, 00:42

The 1958 test at Kingsmead Springboks V France. The great French prop "The Rock" was outstanding

I was an usher at the game and was able to sit on the touchline for the complete test.

Great players: Well I will name a few of many that I considered greats.

Frik du Preez, Jan Pickard, Mark Andrews, Tommy Bedford, Chris Koch, Jaap Bekker, Gary Teichmann.

Tommy Gentles, Clive Ulyate, Hansie Briers, Wilf Rosenberg.

Gert Muller, Ray Mordt, Keith Oxlee, Honeywill, Butch James, D Gerber and the list goes on.

But the young man who was my hero when I was young boy was Tom van Vollenhoven.

Nov 17, 2022, 10:16

Growing up in the concrete jungle (inner-city Cape Town) I was only ever aware of rugby through printed media, news reels at the bioscope (showing about 20 seconds of test match hilites), or memories of my ole Man listening to Charles Fortune, Springbok Radio on a Saturday afternoon.  Us laaities, those with the sporting gene, were outside, playing street soccer, cricket or bok-bok......... but in hindsight, soccer was baas for most of the year.

In 1970, when I was 12, a whitey rocked up at our school looking for programme sellers for a rugby match, Newlands, Bokke v NZ.  Great day . My intro to rugby & the start of my business career. Sales were conducted outside the stadium but our 'manager' got us in & I watched my first ever game of rugby seated on a bench behind the poles. Glad nie sleg nie, my first rugby experience -- Bokke v ABs.

Nov 17, 2022, 12:45

Nice blobbok

Ja, I have to agree, never really watched rugby on TV except when the boks played NZ in the 80s and the whole would tune in. 

But other than that, my Saturdays were taken up playing age group school rugby, it would be normally a whole day thing. Your parents would drop off you early at the school, we would get on a bus and then go to the school we were playing against. There were normally several matches. So we had a to wait a while before we played, we also had to stay behind and watch all the other games. Some schools had a number of field's you would just wonder around and hang out with you friends. The time would come and we would play our match, I think it was only 30 min a half. 

By the time we got home it was late in the afternoon and if you went over to your friends house, there was normally garden work to be done. So you only got to hang out around 5 or 6 pm at which time we would have normally gone to the video store on a Friday, took at 3 movies for the weekend and watched it over and over for the rest of the weekend. 

I was also in boarding school, so I would spend most of the weekend catching up on all my recorded kids shows. 

There would sometimes be rugby on at my uncles house. He was a massive Northern Transvaal fan. I remember his brother got up and vloeked me out. Jou fokken WP poes, I just end up walking through the TV room. Didn't even watch the game, was just playing with my cousins and tried to avoid being spotted. 

If we did pass, it was always to go fetch them beer. The had a whole tall fridge full of beers, packed from the bottom to the top. 

They were Germans from Suid Wes (Namibie). 

I remember at boarding school they had the 1991 World Cup on the communal black and white TV, but only saw Japan play another team and a fight broke out. One Jap came in with a flying kick, which was the most funniest part as we were all joking that we want to see some Ninja shit. 

Ja, so 95 World Cup and then super there after got me really interested. I was hooked on it. 

I would go to college on Friday, find on open pub, have some juice and sit and watch the SA teams play at 8am and then go to class at 10pm being an hour late. 

I would then either watch the game Friday night or all the games on on Saturday and then squeeze some surfing in-between. 

This would last for many years. 

Then got Sky Sports + which was amazing. Had my first kid, but at least could record al the games and then just fast forward through the boring bits. 

I just don't have that much hunger watching all the games these days. Hence why I watched the French game in the background well spending time with our friends and playing board games instead. 

Rugby has become so slow and boring. It use to be so gripping that you couldn't get off your seat. 

Hardly any actually play time. 

Just looked at some more games when Mallet was the coach and back from 1997 to 2014 the game was much faster and the defences not so tight. Even when it was a low scoring game it was still great to watch. 

Now, it is the ref blow a penalty in the scrum and then all of this video ref to check for head contact when it is accidental. Every play needs to be reviewed over and over. 

Just give the coach 2 timeouts per half, if they suspect foul play or poor judgement, then don't stop the game. The coaches have a video feed, there is analysis in the box. Let them make the call.

If the your 2 goes are up then respect the ref and shut the fuck up and let the game go on. 

Nov 18, 2022, 03:47

Eastern Transvaal vs Western Transvaal circa 1958, and everybody’s hero in Springs was the inimitable Dippies Dipenaar. But the first match I can remember in some detail was the Boks vs the ABs at Ellis Park in 1960….two splendid tries by Hennie van Zyl, after brilliant offside wing incursions by Mike Antelme..

You need to Log in to reply.
Back to top