The Spammers have been SPAMMED, is back online!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Rugby Personalities: The genius of Bobby Skinstad

Oh, mock if you will. How can you call the 'Running Tongue' a genius rugby player, I hear you ask? Well, read on.

PissAnt and Jo Trojer discussing the role of loose forwards yesterday got me ruminating on the career of Bobby Skinstad.

I still think Bobby was one of the most talented players this country has produced over the last ten years.

That may be a minority view and there is no doubt that, to a certain extent, his career never fully accomplished the promise he undoubtably had.

It is my supposition that Bobby was never the same player after that car 'incident'. That, allied to his overwhelming fame off the field, contributed to cutting a potentially great career short.

Any player who made his international debut at 21 and went on to win 34 caps whilst scoring 10 tries, had a very long injury enforced break from the game and retired at the age of 26 had to have special qualities.

I suspect that some South African players, despite the best will in the world, do get carried away with the adulation and attention.

Their counterpart in New Zealand, on the other hand, appears motivated to go out week after week to live up to the fame and adulation.

They seem more adept in New Zealand at bringing errant players back down to earth with a bump. Perhaps it is merely that they have a constant flow of extremely talented players coming through the ranks, which tends to concentrate the mind. Perhaps it is Tall Poppy Syndrome.

Having said that, they've had their fair share of players attracting the wrong type of publicity but it is not usually their stars.

Anyway, back to Bobbie. I was priviledged enough to be at Lansdowne Road back in November 1998.

You'll remember that Test, it was on the EOYT that was supposed to crown us as the undisputed champions of sequential wins at 18.

The Irish test was to be the 17th consecutive win in a row, matching the New Zealanders. Except it wasn't going that way until Bobby single-handedly turned the tide in our favour with a brilliant individual try from near the half way line. It involved steps, jinks and hand-offs and was poetry in motion. It felt as if Danie Gerber had come back to bestow his genius on his adoring fans one last time.

That was the skill of Bobby, he had great vision, immaculate distribution, could step off either his right or left foot and had the gift of being in the right place at the right time.

That he was a handsome devil, that he was articulate, that he was a marketing man's dream, was all incidental.

In fact, if we were not so size obssessed in South Africa I'm sure that Bobby could have made an interesting backline player. He was superbly fit and had a surprising turn of speed.

I suspect other countries would have utilised him in the backline. The Irish never attempted to turn the 6' 4'' Horgan into a loose forward, the Kiwis were delighted to play the massive Jonah Lomu on the wing, as are the Australians with the likes of Lote Tuqiri.

Bobby obviously bulked up for his role as a loose forward, I wonder how much pace and deftness of foot that process cost him?

In short, in my opinion, hanging tongues notwithstanding, Bobby Skinstad was a brilliant player who, despite being part of the 17-in-a-row and attending a world cup, never truly fulfilled his massive potential.

Full names: Robert Brian
Date of birth: 3 Jul 1976
Place of birth: Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
School: Hilton College
Initial province: Western Province
Physical: 1.93m, 104.8kg
Current age: 29

Test summary: Tests: 34 Tries: 10
First Test: 29 Nov 1997 Age:21 Reserve against England at Twickenham, London
Last Test: 28 Jun 2003 Age:26 Reserve against Argentina at EPRFU Stadium (Boet Erasmus), Port Elizabeth

You will probably raise a storm of protest, but I agree that Bobby at his best was a Boy Marvel.

I quote: "He had great vision, immaculate distribution, could step off either his right or left foot and had the gift of being in the right place at the right time."

So true. I don't think we have had a loosie with those talents since.
Can you imagine applying these attributes to Schalk Burger or Cronjé? Is there really any current loosie that qualify? Bobby was not a robust player, and it seems that is a prerequisite today.

As loosies come, Rob Louw will always be one of my favourites, mainly because he qualified on all counts - especially being at the right place at the right time.
Maybe this attribute is now coached out of our players, what with all the game plans and running lines and patterns.
Rob Louw, can nectar dripping off the bottom lip taste any sweeter?

I deliberately limited my range to 'the last ten years' Boertjie! ;-)

For whoever saw Rob Louw in his pomp saw poetry in motion.

Yet, thinking about it, Bobby is the closest I've seen to Rob since Rob himself.

Yes, indeed, I'll take abuse, I don't care, those who summararily dismiss Bobby never saw beyond the advertising campaigns.

That guy was a genius rugby player who through a combination of circumstance and youth never showed his true worth.

Is it because he was English? Maybe. Is it because he never grew up on the constricting and disciplined environment of a farm, almost certainly.

In short, a fabulous player of whom we only saw limited bursts of him at his very best.
Hey Ras, you sort of contradict yourself there, 'never showed his true worth'.

That being the case not sure how you can label him a genius, showed the potential but never able to pull it through.
PS And as you can see, remembered my password again! Pity about the username and password I forgot when I signed up a second time though...

Aish, ouderdom!
nice one Ras.

and who can forget bobby ripping a brand new type of ass out of the blue bull team by scoring a hatrick at loftus for WP with breyten paulse - in one of the most memorable games next to nick mallet's french test i have ever seen - as a WP supporter of course.
All Black skipper retires
10/01/2006 07:26 - (SA)

All Black captain Tana Umaga smiles as he watches his teammates go through their final training run at Jade Stadium in Christghurch, New Zealand, in this file photo. (Mark Baker, AP)

Related Articles
Umaga in no rush to decide

Tana Umaga 'set to retire'

Umaga: Will he or won't he?

Umaga to push Kiwis 2011 bid

Umaga could miss some Tests

Umaga decision could be costly

Umaga boost for All Blacks

All Blacks wait on Umaga

Wellington - New Zealand captain Tana Umaga drew the curtain on a glittering international rugby career Tuesday, announcing his retirement from playing for his country to spend more time with his family.

Umaga, 32, played 74 Tests for the All Blacks and 21 as captain since taking over from Reuben Thorne in 2004. Renowned for his crunching tackling and strong running, he played his first 18 Tests on the wing before moving to outside centre and inside centre, scoring 36 Test tries.


"I want to spend more time with my family, and I just believe I sacrificed a lot of time with my family to wear the black jersey," he told a press conference.

"I did that willingly but now it's time for me to sacrifice something and give it back to my family."

All Black coach Graham Henry said he was sad and disappointed by the decision of his dreadlocked skipper but agreed with his reasons.

"I think its a reflection on Tana's strength as a person and development as a person that he's got his priorities right," Henry said.

'One of the great All Blacks'

"This day is a special day I think. This is one of the great All Blacks and he's retiring from the game. He was great as a player, he was very brave, led from the front, a fine defender, a huge determination to win, one of the great All Black captains."

Umaga was born near Wellington of Samoan parents and was the first player of Pacific Island descent to lead the All Blacks.

His final season was an exceptional one for the All Blacks, who swept the Lions 3-0, won the Tri-Nations competition, and pulled off a Grand Slam win over Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland.

Tuesday's announcement ended months of speculation following press reports late last year that Umaga would be playing his last match against Scotland. He first broached the possibility of retirement with Henry in June last year but the coach persuaded him the prospect of the Grand Slam - only the All Blacks' second in a century - was too good to miss.

He told his fellow players after the Scotland Test he had played his last match in the black jersey but asked them to keep quiet so he could tell his family on his return to New Zealand.

He will continue to play for the Wellington Hurricanes in the Super 14 competition and for his Wellington provincial side until his contract expires in 2007.


His final year was marred by a controversial tackle on Brian O'Driscoll in the first minute of the first Lions test last year, which put the Irishman out of the rest of the tour. But Umaga was otherwise admired as one of the game's hardest but fairest players.

Despite speculation in the British press, he said he had no plans to take up a lucrative overseas contract as many other New Zealand players have done.

"I don't fancy going away and leaving my extended family and a great environment to bring up my children," he said.
sorry about the poor ctrl + v lads:)  
GO BOBBY GO!!!!!!  
Damn where is Wes for all of this  

Great article. Yes I think Bobby was a brilliant player, but IMO couldn't handle the fame. This is where SA Rugby fell short when the game went professional. They never prepared the 21 year olds for that kind of responsibility.

Wasn't it Harry Viljoen who said that he is considering playing Bobby at centre.
nick mallet as far as i know donner.

ambroix, thanks for that.

tana was a great player and imo still from the old school, well respected and will leave a massive void in teh AB team.

you have to admire his values on making this decision.
Bobby is a bit like an ex- cheetah player that I played with- Danie Anthony

and he also ended playing loose forward.

He was brilliant in broken play-exceptionally gifted footballer and a shit loosie- period.

Wake up chynas- this is Rugby Union- players like Skinstad should do an individual sport- they will always cost you more than they will gain.
I honestly believe that you should not compare Rob with Bob

as Rob Louw could handle the ruff stuff- and I do not mean illegal stuff.

Bob was never able to compete with the other less - fancifull but robust loosies- and I am still waiting for all the game -winning & game breaking passes.

I am not bad mouthing this guy- but Rugby Union is not his game- especially as a loosie

I would like to know teichman & venter's take on this.
Bobby was absolutley outstanding as a player.

His career ended because of that Guiness incident.

My favorite memory was the 1998 final match of the 3N against Australia at Ellis. I was there too. With the game close and Australia catching up because of numerous penalties, the Boks attack.

They're awarded a scrum in front of the poles in a brilliant attacking position.

Joost gets the ball and breakes right with Bobby on his inside shouilder. Joost is tackled and offloads to Bobby who breakes inside, wrongfooting the whole Australian rugby team, dotting under the poles and winning the 3N for us.

The Ellis park crowd was delirious with Bobby fever.

On a different note though. I think that he played damned well for the Cats in 2001 when he skippered the side with Rassie and Andre Venter as his sidekicks.

They kept players like Andrte Vos and JVN, (very young JVN) and Juan Smith (similarly young) out of the Cats squad.

The S12 players awards voted them as the best loose trio of the 3N.

I think the Cape simply never forgave Bobby for this 'betrayal' because he couldn't get a contract in the Cape after that....stupidly....and he left to go to Europe....lost to our rugby forever.

Good points, but rugby is also a game where individuals can excel and stand out. Those players are stars. Skinstead was so mercurial in abilities that he needed to be on the field.

Brent Russel and Bryan Habana (both to a lesser extent) are similar players.

And ask a 19 year old Naas Botha if he thought Rob Louw's play was legal. Rob was everything Bobby was, plus he was able to play it rough and he had an incredible rugby brain to go along with it.

In one match in 1979, Rob Louw was the only player ever to legally ping Naas and it was the hardest tackle after the Joggie Jansen/Chris Laidlaw tackle I have ever seen.

Of course Moaner Van Heerden moered Rob dik after that incident but that was the nature of the game....
i agree davids, he was exceptional. btw i am awaiting your reply on the loosies thread.


interestingly, i rate Juan as a similiar player to bobby in a lot of respects.
moaner was a boere thug!!!  
and rob was and still is a legend, like bobby and flecky  
Look, as much as I hated the guy for his flashy play (I'm one of those people who belive that a no 8 should be in the Anton Leonard mould.), I can't deny his talent. The guy was brilliant and a true match winner. He could turn any game on it's head in a matter of seconds. I would've loved to see him play at centre, but never got the oppertunity. Just my take on it.  
PA DavidS

I am not detracting from Bob's skill and do not tell me about the wonderful moments- I have watched them and applauded.

My point is partly proven by some of your comments.

Just my final word on this issue

Bob Skinstad is not a lose forward- as he always disappeared with with the hard work that is associated with loose forwards. The following players was/is also gifted footballers but could hold their own in the hard graft of the international loose forwrd fold

Morne Du Plessis, Rob Louw, Rassie Erasmus, Joe van Niekerk.

PA- Juan Smith is an good international loose forward- but he is not as gifted as Skindstad- but he does not disappear in the rest of the game.

Sure Bob is an asset as an individual- but what is his indirect cost- if you look at it in that way- if Mallet was not skinstad befok and played Teichman, Venter & Erasmus, we would have won how many games in a row- even the 1999 World Cup- because it was not bobby who got us in the 1999 semi's--we got there despite him.

I say it again he is a superb athlete- and an intelligent one as well- he was never robust enough for an international flank- yes brilliant enough for a 20 minute sub who will create havoc, but Mallet had to change the formula- because the Guiness/Ford contract dictated that.

Guiness cost him his career- in the same manner as Ettiene Botha lost his life.

It is sad- but it is the life is.

For me Skinstad will always be a super sub- a job that he was brilliant in. Read your own takes and the ones on Keo with regard to the NFL muscle types and rethink your stance on him being an 80 minute player.

By the 60th minute he was too tired to throw that much vaunted pass accuratly- that is why it was so often intercepted.

Mallet created the hype about Skinstad- he could not deliver

that is why he retired at 26.

I really believe that we should nurture these individuals- providing that they can do the basic of the positions job description.

Playing the Poms is not the same as playing the Austrian teams- people like Anthony/Skinstad will be devasting in such games.

PA- you are aself-confessed disciple of structures- the international structures eventually nullified King Carlos & Cullen- at least they had space which Skinstad never had- again eventually skinstad bombed due to structures- he did not bomb in his second year PA- because he was good- he lost it later.

Just my thoughts on Bob.. may he have a successful life and be thankful that he did not paid the same price as Ettiene Botha did.

I'll go and look now.

I'm trying to post an article but it keeps telling me the blog doesn't exist.


Moaner was THE Boere Thug

I agree with that assessment.

I actually got the idea that Mallet bowed to media pressure to put Skinstead in the starting line-up.

Especially following the match against Scotland, where he again played some inspired rugby as a super sub, I recall thge next day the Rapport headline said:

"Wanneer gaan Skinstead begin?"

The article was a scathing criticism of Mallet's ideas that Skinstead was a super sub. The change, dropping Andre Venter to let Skinstead play in the match against England that we lost trying to set the record, effectively cost us the record
Ja OO, soos gewoonlik, behalwe as jy oor die Cheetahs praat ;), stem ek saam met jou. Ek het toe Skinstad nog gespeel het altyd vir my pa (Hy was 'n groot Skinstad fan) gese Bobby is net 'n goeie flank/agsteman as hy supersub kan wees. Strukture haal hom uit die spel uit, soos jy ook gese het. Na 60min is die meeste games los en strukture verdwyn. Dis hoekom hy so goed was, ek se nog steeeds, die ou moes 'n senter gewees het, ek reken hy sou skitterend gewees het in daardie posisie.  
Aldo- thanks vir jou comment

nou is ek egter - DuivelsAdvocaat

Ek rate PA se analise oor 12/13

watter senter sou bob moes speel?
Ek sou se 12, ek wil he dat my 12 die ou moet wees wat al die "fancy steps" doen en die gaps maak vir die 13 om deur te bars. Ek reken 'n groot deel van JP Nel se sukse laas jaar, was omdat hy langs EB gespeel het. EB het al die ouens gehad wat hom check, dit het gaps oopgemaak vir JP om deur te kom. Net my opinie. Ek dink Bobby op 12 en Andre Snyman op 13 sou 'n skitterende kombinasie gewees het.  

Your views are right – to a degree.

I think the biggest problem Bobby had was that he was ahead of his time in the way he played and the roles he fulfilled as a player in the time he played.

Rugby has evolved dramatically and does so continuously. You are 100% correct when you say that I do put a lot of stock in structures in international and even local rugby. But remember, these structures that I am referring to are structures to put in place to get the best out of the players.

In so many instances people overdo this and we choke natural talent and skill out of players because coaches try and implement too many damn structures. In situation like this we see enormously talented players perform robotic type functions on the field of play suppressing their natural ability because of over-structures game plans and playing styles. Jean de Villiers comes to mind.

As an example, Bobby was regarded by many, when he played, that he will be so much more of an asset to a team if he was selected on center. Ja right, look at what happened to Bobo.

Anycase not an argument I want to get into.

Loose forward play in Bobby’s era, when he was at the top of his game, was much more conservative than what we see today. Yesterday I posted my views on how I see loose forwards in today’s game and even went as far as selecting my perfect loose forward combination to suit this style of play. 6. Kronfeld, 7. Skinstad, 8. Zinzan.

To me a number 7 should almost be, or have the same skills, as an outside center. You can read those views and if you disagree with that, then fine, we have different views on the roles of loosies.

Rassie, who had a very similar style to Bobby, lasted longer because he was clever enough to adapt his game to suit the playing style required. But then the man is a genius and student of the game.

It was wrong to put Bobby in the situation that the coaches and management did. As Donner mentioned, we should have looked after, and managed Bobby better, we did not. As mentioned as well, after his accident, and the problem with his knee, we should have been patient and give him enough time to recover, we did not.

Bobby should never have gone to WC ’99. Teichs should have been captain with Venter and Rassie as his flankers, I will never dispute that.

What I will dispute though is the fact that people saw him as a super sub and nothing more. Bobby, in games for his provinces and Super 12 teams ripped teams apart and was an inspirational leader, for 80 minutes.

Also, you can correct me if I am wrong, but how and where did it ever come up that he shied away from the physical stuff? I cannot remember where he was ever accused of doing this nor can I remember a game where this happened? Perception is a powerful emotion. His style of play was vastly different from that of a Teichs and Venter, so obviously with his ability to read the game and find himself in perfect situations more often than not, made him look vastly different from the players in similar positions at that time.

This ability was his biggest asset as a player, but also the reason he never made it as a loosie.

In my view, these special and rare abilities found in teams and players should be what you plan your game around, not trying to change that by selecting forwards as backs or play centers as wings or whatever and restrict it to conform to conservatism. Take Jean de Villiers for instance. Is anyone disputing his talent or ability? Then why is his talent and skill being sacrificed in order to play in a certain way or to a certain plan? Also look at Dan Carter, NZ’s whole attacking game evolves around him and his abilities, when he was nullified in CPT, the AB’s looked ordinary, but that was once in a year, and the only game they lost.

Bobby was revolutionary in his time, and unfortunately we did not appreciate what he brought to the game at that stage.

In a perfect world, I would have let Bobby exploded onto the scene for the Springboks in 2000 or 2001, not before then.

In a perfect world the CC would still be in PTA, Heynecke wouldn't grow old and reitire, the Bulls would have a follow up for AL as captain and Steve's song "Maak die Bulle almal Bokke" would've come true!

I applaud your view on 1999 RWC.

Which year did his accident happen?

All analysis after the incident is of academic value.

Yes the game is constantly changing- and that is the reason why the Poms won the RWC in 2003


He will always have had an indirect cost in Rugby Union- and that is my point.

rather let the backs be creative - because they have space and let people who will do their own job 98 % of the time appear outta the blue to convert fancifull analyst driven moves.

I agree- Bob must be an analyst's dream, but if I can quote you- rugby is won on the pitch -not on paper.

relook the muscle training that is needed to last 80 minutes and the explosiveness that is required to be an effective impact player.

I do not know Skinstad personnaly or worked with him proffesionally. I also do not want to belittle him- or his legacy

See my comments as from a passionate supporter of Bok Rugby.

I do not disagree that he might have been a genius playing at the wrong time- note I did not say before his time- because in 2003 England won the RWC- on SH hard fields with a mega structurised pack- I am just saying that he is not an International loose forward.

Time may prove me incorrect with the continious evolvement of the game of Rugby Union- but can you remember the time that Mallet was trying to tell everybody that they are stupid and that you should forget about a tight five and have a back five- which province is still trying to get rid of their resulting light five.

Somethings never change- but if I am incorrect- must have an verdict by 2011- then I will concede.
If the game is played with all the teams playing their Bobbies at 7, rugby Union will be by far the most beautiful game to watch in the world

But those who wants to win do not do that

They play them at 10 Dan Carter, Jonny Wilkenson.

It is when you do not have a Dan Carter, but Lem at 10, that you want your 7 to do that job.

Point is bob was good enough to have an continious impact at provincial level- maybe S12

but not test level- boertjie called it in the first post- ' Bobby was not a robust player, and it seems that is a prerequisite today.'

I personnally believe that it will be the prerequisite also tomorrow.

Both Rob Louw and JP Rives were robust..enough

Buts lets agree to disagree

Ek wil nie he my deelname hieraan moet een lang perevrekte word nie

"n perd vat nogal partykeer lank om te vrek"
O dankie  

perder vrekte.

i guess we will have to agree to disagree - just like myself and davids on the first receiver issue on the loosies thread.

bob in my view was the perfect loose forward, and with games defensively organised as they are now, you need all of your "handlers" (guys that will handle the ball often in the game) to be highly skilled.

and in a perfect world steve hofmeyer would not sing!
o ja and mallet also said ticket prices were to high - damn idiot :)  

Maandstonde alweer?
You've got it wrong PA, in a perfect world, we won't have all these "volksvreemde" techno and so forth. And Nataniel wouldn't be there for WP.  

I responded on the loosie thread
and i replied again davids!!!!  
Mallet's 1999 3N campaign was not exactly a repeat of his 1998 succeses either was it PA

And hisinvolvement with rugby in WP has done wonders so far hasn't it.

Still no Tight 5 and still bleeding away international quality kickers

Okay I'm out of here for a few hours.

Got to get some work done.

Thanks PA

I'll read it later.
Yes I enjoy his books. But I would also add to that Corne Kriges outo. Now that was a nice read...
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?