A Plum Job

By Dick van Dyk

John _Plumtree Every day is a rainy day for Plum.

So. I’m back. From outer space… Well, the far-flung reaches of Europe to be exact. I have been welcomed home by the news that apparently Sharks coach John Plumtree doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry over his team’s performance against the Chiefs on Saturday. Really? Perhaps I may be of assistance in helping him to make up his mind…

But before I do so I would like to add a preposition – methinks (and so do many others) that John Smit is feeling the same way about the performance of his former coach. And that come July when Barney the Brave pulls on his suit and tie and heads down to King’s Park for his first day in the Head Honcho’s office Plum’s sphincter may be in for a bit of a spasm. In fact, there’s going to be a lot of okes catching big skriks down in the balmy land of the former banana boys thinking that Big John’s a comin’ to settle him some scores… (cue banjo music and a suitable red-neck “yee ha!”)

Now then, onto “How to react to your team losing 101”… Firstly, as a forwards coach, Plum, I would definitely be crying over the first 20 minutes of the first half of Saturday’s game. Allow me to expand… Loose forwards is not an expression meant to describe the sexual morals of the okes who do the grunt work for the pack. However, the way they bent over backwards to allow the Chiefs backline a decent run at the try line would indicate that they are not entirely clear on this point. I’d definitely have a bit of a cry over this point.

Next up… Hands are for catching and throwing (even though the Chiefs patently think they are for plunging into rucks underneath the uprights) not scratching scrotum as the ball flies past your left ear or drops at your feet. And passing isn’t something you do when you don’t know the answer to a question, Plum. It’s that thing you do in practice sessions to make sure the blokes you’ve got on the team have the basics covered. (By the way, basics are those skills that fat bloke taught you at primary school – you know, run and catch, run and pass…) So, I’d also be sobbing a bit at the number of basic handling errors my okes displayed.

Onto leadership qualities now… When selecting your captain, it’s probably a good thing to make sure he knows when it’s appropriate to kick for goal and when to go for the corner. Just ask Chris Robshaw the difference and I’m sure he’d be happy to explain.

Your captain should also really know that giving away a penalty under the upright in injury time which is going to lose you a bonus point (especially when your team has fought like the devil to secure two bonus points against all odds) is not terribly clever. Would it be rude of me to suggest that Keegan Daniel is not the best option as Sharks main man? I know I wouldn’t be laughing on this point.

Keegan_Daniels                I don’t really know why I’m captain.

Finally, for the sake of brevity, I will now discuss centres and wings. Not shopping malls and the things that birds use to fly with or that taste lekker with a drop of braai sous and a nice cold Castle, but the ones who are supposed to take the ball, distribute it accurately and run with it.

Notwithstanding the fact that for the first time in quite a few weeks your scrumhalves managed to get decent ball to your flyhalf (who until Saturday was the only man to score any points for, um, like ages?) your inside centre seemed to be both visually impaired and unable to fathom that balls are for either retaining and running with or passing to someone who knows what to do with them. Basically, your outside centre needs to be your inside centre, and your inside centre needs to be put on a bench somewhere, preferably in Kimberley.

The wings need to understand that when the flyhalf has finally managed, after weeks and weeks of trying, to get his backline straightened and over the advantage line, all they need to do is to catch the ball, hold onto it and run straight, not aim for the touchline while asking the opposition if they’d like a shot at a lineout. On both counts I’d more than likely be in floods of inconsolable tears.

Yes. Sixteen injuries is a bit harsh isn’t it. But so’s having Burton Francis as a flyhalf and I don’t see the Cheetah’s complaining. Yes, travelling’s a be-atch, but if those laid-back boeties from Slaapstad can manage, there’s not much of an argument, is there?

In summary, dear Plum, I hope these observations have helped you to evaluate which emotional response (between laughing and crying) would have been the most appropriate given the situation on Saturday in Waikato. Might I also politely suggest that you begin updating your CV, and recommend that your assistant coaches do likewise. I would hate there to be tears on that front.

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One Response to A Plum Job

  1. Prof. Bokdrol says:

    Ek is fokken teleurgesteld in julle Soutpiele – genuine. Al die jarre ondersteun ek julle omdat ek in Durbs grootgeword het en bietjie Stockholm sindroom ontwikkel het mettertyd – ‘n Dutchman in Durbs is amper soos ‘n straight ou in Kaapstad, heeltemal verwilderd en in sy moer in verdwaal. In elk geval, dis nog 3 maande tot die final – julle beter fokken regkom…

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