The weekend produced some good and bad rugby but the ugly goes to SARU yet again!
I think everyone is getting gatvol of this issue and it is actually very interesting that the ballot was 6 for the lions against the 23 of the Kings.I guessed the smaller unions would’ve voted with their bigger cousins but it seemed it did not happen and since the Pumas and leopards are in a arbitration battle against the lions. My question is then who voted for the lions? (thanx patrick and baylion for the info)
I just want to say its ridiculous that the Kings are in Super Rugby and did not play and win to get there. It is probably the reason why our country is in such a shambles. Ironically it is the same thing or more or less that is happening at the lonmin mine, everyone just want everything to be given without earning it.
Back to the rugby, it was a good weekend for the Cheetahs who beat the Bulls convincingly. The Bulls will have a few headaches and maybe some worrying nights due to the sighting commissioner especially on Werner Kruger.
The Bulls where lucky the score was not more , their first try should never have been due to a high tackle from CJ Stander on Sarel Pretorius at the previous play and then the controversial non allowed try of Sarel Pretorius at the end. Sarel was not held and it was a try, he did not need to let the ball go on the ground.
Andries Ferreira played magnificent as did Frans Viljoen and Kabamba Floors while the young Raymond Rhule is also a superstar in the making. If the Cheetahs can keep him with Goosen and the likes of Van Zyl for the next couple of years we may see a Cheetahs outfit vying for Semi-finals in Super rugby in the near future.
Riaan Smit was deadly with the boot and he contributed 19 points. He did not miss a kick and put extra pressure on the bulls to not make mistakes in his range. His injury will be a massive setback for the cheetahs.
For the Bulls CJ Stander played a lone hand, how the Bulls let him go doesn’t make any sense to me. This guy should’ve been in the Bok setup and should have played on the weekend in the green and gold. Elsewhere Willie Wepener was a nuisance but he did concede a lot of penalties while Ulrich Beyers impressed me at outside centre, he got over the advantage line constantly and although did not break the line he was difficult to get down.
The Cheetahs win comes at a good time with Johan Goosen probably coming back this week and Heinrich Brussouw and Coenie Oosthuizen the next. Bad news however is the injuries to Piet van Zyl and Riaan Smit, Both will be out for about 8 weeks and will be sorely missed.
The Kwas played a solid game but WP were just too good, for me the difference was Marcell Brache (and WP’s defence), he’s decision making and all round skill is top class. JP du Plessis is also a serious talent, big, strong, good on his feet and a good defender. Duanne Vermeulen is not up to his best yet but he will get there. He needs to be managed in. Live-wire Deon Fourie played his heart out as usual.
For the Kwas, there were a few guys that stood out, Wilkins, landman and Brummer, but they missed Willie Le Roux quite a lot. I would like to keep Brummer at fullback and play Willie at flyhalf, he needs to get more of the ball to make things happen for the kwas. They looked flat feeted and did not seem to have someone who can get them over the advantage line, although they had more possession they were tackled back and lost momentum in the tackles.
The Sharks were too good for the Lions, who came from an impressive showing against the Cheetahs. Although I won’t take a lot from that win due to the Cheetahs being slow starters.
The Lions looked a far cry from the team from last week and I wonder if the midweek news did not unsettle them. These guys are a far better team, but they did not play like they could. Credit to the Sharks who did put them under pressure and played a more structured game, but they would kick themselves for not picking up the bonus point.
For the Sharks there was numerous players that stood out but most notably was Riaan Viljoen after he went off for his concussion test, Meyer Bosman (he played his best game in the Sharks jersey and was impressive with the boot) and Craig Burden who is like a fast Deon Fourie. Jean Deysel also played well and deserves a mention.
For the Lions Warren Whiteley stood out with his strong runs and impressive work rate while Henrik Roodt stood out for all the wrong reasons.
All in all I think we are getting a clearer picture of the teams and how they match against each other, I think the Sharks, Lions and Cheetahs are the top 3 and with the Cheetahs getting their boks back in the following few weeks they could become a very dangerous side.
Going to the Rugby Championship, the All Blacks played well and were deserved winners over the Aussies. I predicted a heavier loss for the Aussies. I did not watch the game so I won’t comment further.
The Boks played a good game, not spectacular but a good enough start to their campaign. HM said afterwards he is a very difficult guy to please and their is a lot that needs to be better cone the AB’s! However there is some selections that doesn’t warrant their inclusion in the team and thus he is probably to fault for being difficult to please!
The Boks should have got a bonus point for 4 tries and they had the chances but where unable to use them but in their defence I must say the Argies did play some negative rugby and were lucky to escape without a yellow card in the match.
Morne Steyn played superbly well and he will make it difficult for the young Goose to play in this years championship if he continues to play like he did. I feel that the injury to Goosen will prevent him from playing for the Boks this year already he still needs to show that he can back up what he did in Super rugby in the CC, but we will be watching him closely in the coming weeks.
Mvovo, Bekker, Marcell Coetzee and Willem Alberts all played well, while the likes of JDV and Frans Steyn were quiet for a change.
The injury to Bismarck is a big blow to our chances of winning the Championship, but Adriaan showed he is good enough to start, but our back up is starting to look a bit thin. Tiaan Liebenberg is good but not in the same class as Bissie, Adriaan or Chilli.
I would also like to see CJ Stander in the mix for the Boks, with his speed and power he would be a big asset at number 8. If JJ Engelbrecht is there why not CJ?
The following few weeks will be interesting in the CC with a lot of big clashes with the Central derby between the Cheetahs and the Kwas and the derby between the Sharks and Bulls to be the highlights for me.
This weeks fixtures are:
NZ vs Aus
Kwas vs Cheetahs
Lions vs WP
Bulls vs Sharks
Boks vs Arg
Cant wait for the weekend!