Controversial observations …… maybe!
Having watched most of the games this weekend and having read copious amounts of blogs and news articles I have drawn a few conclusions that I will share my opinions on.
I enjoyed the Oz v Lions game and I am glad that Oz won, it has created a huge vibe of anticipation for the third game, which I think will go to the Lions. Actually I don’t mind who wins, as long as they play good rugby.
The Bulls proved why they are top of the SA conference and I can’t really knock them on anything but I made two important observations. Pierre Spies wasn’t missed at all! In a way I am glad that his injury has put him into a forced rest period where he can rest mentally after having played too much rugby this season. Pierre is a great athlete that has been out of form this season but after a rest he could regain some form …… Morne Steyn did.
Hougaard has got to improve his speed when kicking from the base of the scrum. I know that he will never be a Fourie du preez, but the speed and accuracy of those clearance kicks is vital if he is to play for the Boks. I am a big Hougaard fan, but being strong around the fringes with a slick pass is just not enough at Bok level.
If the Kings play this same Bulls style of rugby against the Lions, it is going to be a long day at the relegation game for them.
Sharks played well in a nail biter and there wasn’t much wrong except for Lambie who had a less than average game. I still prefer this young man at 15 and can now see why HM either doesn’t play him, or plays him off the bench. With Goosen, Steyn, maybe Pollard, an even Jantjies or Grant available for next year, I quite honestly can’t see his future clearly. Maybe he’ll bear the unenviable tag of being a utility back that plays in any backline position. Not too clear to me yet!
Cheetahs looked flat and lack luster with a game plan that clearly misfired. The coaches must shoulder most of the blame for the k*k game plan, for which they had no obvious plan B. This, in my opinion was the major cause of the poor performance, which has probably sunk their S15 playoff hopes. Le Roux is brilliant in open games, but I need convincing that he can do the job at the back against teams like the ABs where Carter would run him ragged by making him chase kicks back and forth across the field. His kicking also needs to be worked on. I tend to agree with some pundits that think he might be better as an impact player at this stage. The ABs and OZ won’t allow test matches to get too loose.
I can see HM resorting to safe and conventional Kirchner – Steyn kick and chase forward rugby for the end of year tour. I hope I’m wrong. ……