Take a bow voories
May 31, 2010 in Uncategorized
In my preview of the match I suggested the battle of the flanks and the front rows would go a long way to deciding the outcome of the final … And so it came to be, the Stormers being truly outclassed in both spheres of the game.
And it seems I am not alone in my thinking … Both Victor Matfield and coach Frans Ludeke described the Bulls front row as the “unsung heroes” this morning, crediting them for the Super14 final win.
And let’s remember that it was only a few short months ago that Western Province were scoring a pushover try against the Bulls in the Currie Cup! Ludeke went on to say that he believes the return of hooker Gary Botha from English club Harlequins to be a big part of the front row turnaround.
Bok skipper John Smit had this to say in a Sunday morning Tweet: “The players must be sore today after that brutal clash. Congrats to the Bulls & my men of the match goes to Gurthro, Gary & Werner. Outstanding”
The other area where the Bulls reigned supreme was at the breakdown. I thought Dewald Potgieter and Deon Stegmann were outstanding. As early as the 14th minute of the game Potgieter retained possession for the Bulls by being closer to the ground than Schalk Burger.
How the big ball carriers and power tacklers of the Stormers did against the two scavengers of the Bulls was always going to be key. And I disagree with Burger, who accused referee Craig Joubert of blowing two sets of rules at the breakdown. Joubert certainly looked a little shell shocked and pale early on in the game as he got to grips with the biggest game he has ever refereed, but he was not biased. The Bulls just played the breakdown better …
The Bulls kicking game was yet again pin point, but it was the chasing of those kicks by every single Bulls player that made the game plan work. The tackling was ferocious, especially when homing in on a Stormers player about to take a high ball.
The Bulls of course, also have Fourie du Preez in their ranks, who proved yet again that he is the planet’s best rugby player. No debate in my mind.
Du Preez would have got man of the match where it not for the performance of another scrumhalf who has had to move to the wing because of Du Preez’s presence – Francois Hougaard. Arrogant to some perhaps, this young player has what it takes to play at the highest level – pace, the eye for a gap, fantastic defence, and confidence! A truly incredible performance.
It was not too long ago that Hougaard was playing for the WP Academy side under Stef Nell against an Ikey under 20 side I was coaching. Oh how the ministers of rugby recruitment in the Western Cape must be ruing that little mistake …
Boys vs Men … Deer in the headlights … Possibly a little too harsh. But the Stormers needed to calm down to a panic and play some rugby if they were to compete in the final. But it was the calm that comes from having played finals rugby, together with the sheer physicality the Bulls brought to Orlando, that saw them bring the Super14 era to a close on a real high …
Now for the Boks …
PS: I HATE that bloody vuvuzela. Please let’s not make it a part of rugby. It really makes the game unpleasant to watch … I even had to switch SABC for the second half as the vuvuzelas just seemed a little softer on their feed. Craig Marais and Pieter Hendricks were commentating, and were quite refreshing!
PPS: Bulls vs Heineken Champs Toulouse this weekend would be so much more fun than a meaningless one off Test against Wales! The best would be Guinness Premiership winners vs Currie Cup winners as a curtain raiser to the Heineken Cup winners vs Super14 winners. Trouble is the Bulls won both competitions … How about WP vs Leicester as curtain raiser to Bulls vs Toulouse? Don’t tell me you are not salivating!