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Rugby

The Expendables

The film “The Expendables” was released in theatres in 2010 and was described thus “An all-star cast of action movie icons headline Sylvester Stallone’s explosive action thriller about a group of hard-nosed mercenaries who are double-crossed during a treacherous mission.” The main attraction of the film was that it featured a group of over-the-hill soldiers transplanted into an unfamiliar environment that they have to blast their way out of.

Actor/director Sylvester “Rambo/Rocky” Stallone recruited the cream of ‘80’s and ‘90’s action hero figures and got them all to act with him in the film. The cast includes Arnie Schwarzenegger (Terminator), Bruce Willis (Die Hard), Dolph Lundgren (Rocky IV), Jet Li (Once upon a time in China), Mickey Rourke (recently of The Wrestler) and Mr B-Grade himself, Eric Roberts. To this day, I am mystified that Jean-Claude van Damme and Steven Seagal failed to make the grade – perhaps they asked for too much money? To satisfy the younger generation of action lovers who only know Arnie as The Governator, the team also brought Jason Statham of the Transporter franchise into the setup.

Some of the actors have been making films since the 1970’s and several of them became Hollywood legends primarily through the action genre. Love them or loathe them, they are difficult to ignore and have arguably been extremely successful at what they do. It was with this history in mind that I approached this testosterone-fuelled film with great expectations. Let’s be clear – I wasn’t expecting a plot-driven thriller with great dialogue that kept me on the edge of my seat – I just wanted something that had a lot of action and the semblance of a plot. What I did get was extremely bad acting, a childish plot and badly filmed action sequences. It is an understatement to say that the film disappointed and bombed at the box office.

The Springbok team for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand that was announced last week brought back the (bad) memories of The Expendables.

The familiar, tried-and-tested, reliable faces are there – For Sly Stallone read John Smit, whilst for Schwarzenegger, Willis and Lundgren you get Matfield, Botha, Du Preez and Habana. For the Jason Statham element, the selectors have added Patrick Lambie and Heinrich Brussouw to show that they have “developed” the team. The one major change is the director who was previously Jake White replaced by Peter “P.Divvy” De Villiers.

One of the key problems facing the Boks is that their inspirational captain is arguably not even the best player in his position as hooker. Despite proving himself consistently as the best South African hooker, Bismarck du Plessis has had to make way for Smit in the front row. Like Stallone attempting to bring back the glory days as an action hero, Smit is trying to coax his weary limbs into battle once more and we can only hope the result is better than Sly’s efforts in The Expendables.

Another critical area for the South African team is a lack of variation on attack. The Boks are renowned for their physicality at the breakdown area as well as their tough defence, but they do seem to suffer from a lack of cutting edge up front. Morne Steyn is as reliable as ever with the boot and will probably start the majority of the games to ensure the Boks keep the scoreboard ticking over, but Steyn is not as good at distributing the ball and rarely brings his outside backs into play.

The Boks should have enough petrol in the tank to qualify from their group and get past the quarter finals. If they get to the semi finals, perhaps they will show us all that they are not so expendable after all.

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About Ticha Pfupajena

I'm beginning to get the sense that my career as a professional footballer may not happen. As a result, I'll try write about football and sports instead....

Discussion

12 thoughts on “The Expendables

  1. I think the Boks performance at the WC will be more like a Matt Damon action film. There will be loads of action and drama, mostly from the opponents, but like Mr Damon they will prevail without being terrible flashy.

    The bottom line is that the Wallabies and ABs will not show the extravagence we’ve seen in the Tri-Nations come the semi-finals of the WC. Then gritty, hard-nosed rugby will win the day. The team with the biggest, brutest pack and most accurate goal kicker will win it. NZ will still be the team to beat on this criteria, but SA has a much bigger chance that most would care to admit.

    Posted by DeepFreez | 29/08/2011, 17:16
    • Good points there Deep Freeze. I reckon that the expansive extravagant game is a bit of a luxury for AB’s and Wallabies. However, both teams need to play their style of rugby and not try force the winning ugly rugby..

      Posted by Ticha Pfupajena | 29/08/2011, 17:55
  2. I hope the Boks do well for Divvy’s sake.

    Posted by Rose Pfupajena | 30/08/2011, 09:20
  3. I vote this my favorite article from you xxx

    Posted by The Mrs | 30/08/2011, 09:21
  4. Nice one TP- I think the Boks will be there or thereabouts at the reckoning due to the points above by you & DeepFreeze- ABs & Oz will get away with attacking game but the play-offs will see teams revert to good old fashioned test match rugby- minimise mistakes, play field position, arm wrestling up front & imposing yourself at set piece…enter the dark horse- ENGLAND! As the man himself Martin johnson said recently “we’d rather win ugly than lose pretty”. The red rose brigade are past masters at this & this is reflected in their status as the most successful country at world cups (in terms of play-off apperances- 3 finals, 1 semi, 2 quarters)… they are BORING… but effective! France… well, depends on which French team turns up! 😉 Ireland are a spent force sadly, as are Argentina (which doesnt bode well for their first season in next yrs expanded Tri nations) & Wales will flatter to decive when the big games come round. Samoa will be difficult but ultmately dont have a strong enough set up to see them go much further than quarters, although I think they’d be capable of making the semis if they had a bit more quality on the bench.

    Posted by Will Mbanga | 31/08/2011, 10:30
  5. Sylvester Stallone was always an average actor all his life and for him to be the Director of a movie and then act in it, it would have to be a B-movie.

    Posted by Munya | 31/08/2011, 19:59
  6. Come on ‘Mhun’ aka “Will’ aka ‘Mhunya’ we all loved Rambo: First Blood.

    Well at least we have the ever coherent ‘Diwy’ directing this show…. And as for the aged back in action, I say bring back Francois!

    Posted by Neilo | 01/09/2011, 02:16
  7. The Expendables may still have it in them. I would rather take the solid rugby from the boks over the rash and flash skills of teh All Blacks. Sonny Bill Williams and Nonu are amazing to watch, but the Jean de Villiers – Jaque Fourie combo is #Winning.

    John Smit is the kind of leader you need at a world cup. Look at Greame Smith for the Proteas…the guys lost and he didn’t even come home. Says a lot about the lack of leadership and how it can affect performance. Having Bismark on the bench itching to prove to the world that he is the premier hooker will be the nightmare of any scrum.

    Though they may lack imagination (morne) and motivation at times with guys like Hienrich, Tendai (aka Beast), Pat, Spies (to an extent) in the squad who are hungry for that first world cup there is definite game changers.

    And as we saw in the tri nations test held in PE, grit vs “glory”, 6 kicks vs. 1 try….

    Go Bokke!!!

    Posted by D Rock | 02/09/2011, 08:45

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